The 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017. The Summit also endorsed the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) which identifies seven clusters: trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor market integration

The proposed Continental Free Trade Area (CTFA) for Africa is a market integration agreement that presents an equal opportunity open market to all participating countries in the region. The plan would substantially remove obstructions to the movement of goods and services across the continent at the initial implementation stage with the hope of progressing into a customs union with free movement of capital and business persons.

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