Objectives of Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
Expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general.
Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access, and better reallocation of resources•
Implementation of the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) provides a comprehensive framework to pursue a developmental regionalism strategy. The former is conceived as a time-bound project, whereas BIAT is continuous with concrete targets to double intra-African trade flows from January 2012 and January 2022.
By creating a single continental market for goods and services, the member states of the African Union hope to boost trade between African countries.
Intra-African trade is relatively limited; UNCTAD, the main UN body dealing with trade, said it made up only 10.2 percent of the continent’s total trade in 2010. David Luke, coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at UNECA, hopes the free trade area will correct this “historical anomaly”. “Colonialism created a situation where neighbors stopped trading with each other. The main trading route was between African countries and European countries and between African countries and the US,” he told Al Jazeera.
This initiative is also essentially driven by the potential of creating an enlarged marketplace of 1.2 billion people for all the 55 nations of Africa. The CFTA is also expected to amplify Africa’s market and economic possibilities to the rest of the world and particularly to global investors.
Although the overall concept is to create a level playing field for everyone, the gains for each country however will be unequal depending on each country’s level of preparedness in terms of institutional and developmental priorities over the years.