By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The number of instruments deposition for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement has rose to 22 with the receipt of additional two instruments Monday.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat and African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga received the two instruments of ratification from Dr. Brima Patrick Kapuwa, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the African Union (representing the 21st member state) and Lamin Baali, Permanent Representative of the Saharawi Republic to the African Union (representing the 22nd ratification).
According to a statement made available to Newsdiaryonline Tuesday, the Chairperson described the two deposits as timely and significant steps towards removing the fragmentation of African economies and markets as well as a process that would create a large market critical to increasing trade and investments on the continent.
“The two deposits meet the minimum threshold of ratifications required under Article 23 of the AfCFTA Agreement for it to enter into force thirty days after the deposit of the twenty-second deposit made by the Saharawi Republic. The AfCFTA Agreement will in this regard enter into force on 30th May, 2019.
“All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalize work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit on 7th July 2019.
“The supporting instruments are: rules of origin; schedules of tariff concessions on trade in goods; online non-tariff barriers monitoring and elimination mechanism; digital payments and settlement platform; and, African Trade Observatory Portal,” the statement said.
The African Ministers of Trade are scheduled to meet in Kampala, Uganda in the first week of June this year to review work on these supporting instruments ahead of the Extraordinary Summit on the AfCFTA.
The Chairperson also paid tribute to the Champion of the AfCFTA, Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger for his strong and sustained advocacy to have all African Union Member States sign and ratify the AfCFTA Agreement.