About The AfCFTA

About The AfCFTA
Brief Overview

The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$ 3.4 trillion. The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the African Union’s long-term development strategy for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.

As part of its mandate, the AfCFTA is to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade. In particular, it is to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African Economy. The AfCFTA will contribute to establishing regional value chains in Africa, enabling investment and job creation. The practical implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to foster industrialisation, job creation, and investment, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Africa in the medium to long term.

The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019, after 24 Member States deposited their Instruments of Ratification following a series of continuous continental engagements spanning since 2012. It was launched at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Niamey – Niger, in July 2019. The commencement of trading under the AfCFTA was in January 1, 2021. The AfCFTA Secretariat is hosted in Accra, Ghana. His Excellency Wamkele Mene is the first elected Secretary-General coordinating the implementation of the Agreement.

Quick Facts
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AU MEMBER STATES HAVE SIGNED THE AfCFTA AGREEMENT AS OF JUNE 2022

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HAVE DEPOSITED THEIR INSTRUMENT OF RATIFICATION

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PEOPLE WILL POTENTIALLY BE LIFTED OUT OF EXTREME POVERTY

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INCOME BOOST IN AFRICA BY 2035: A 7% GAIN

The AfCFTA IS THE LARGEST FREE TRADE AREA IN THE WORLD MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF COUNTRIES PARTICIPATING

Critical timelines in the AfCFTA establishment and negotiations: 
January 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The 18th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government adopted the Decision on Fast-tracking the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for Boosting Intra-Africa Trade.
January 2012
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June 2015
Johannesburg, South Africa
The 25th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government launched the negotiations for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
June 2015
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March 2018
Kigali, Rwanda
At the 10th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government, 44 of the 55 African Union Member States signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); 
March 2018
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30 May 2019
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force after the 22nd deposit of the instrument of ratification by the Saharawi Republic on April 29 2019. 
30 May 2019
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July 2019
Niamey, Niger
The 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA. The start of trading under the AfCFTA Agreement began on January 1 2021.
July 2019
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10 February 2020
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
H.E. Wamkele Mene was elected as the first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA on 10th February 2020, at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
10 February 2020
H.E. Wamkele Mene is sworn-in on 19 March 2020 as first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
19 March 2020
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
H.E. Wamkele Mene is sworn-in on 19 March 2020 as the first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
19 March 2020
afcfta_opening
17 August 2020
Accra, Ghana
The Official handover and Commissioning of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat Building
17 August 2020
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1 January 2021
Johannesburg, South Africa
Start of Trading under the AfCFTA.  13th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly on the AfCFTA 
1 January 2021