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Regional Dialogue highlights African Trade Policy

The implementation of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to start on 1 July 2020, following the agreement’s entry into force on 30 May 2019. Fifty-four countries have signed the AfCFTA and 29 have ratified the agreement to date. The next AU Heads of State meeting will be held in SA chaired by President Ramaphosa as Chair of the AU. Movement is starting and bilateral discussions are underway. The East African Community is being taken as the role model for the AfCFTA. However, trade rules need a framework and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is keen that Africa looks to it for guidance.

Therefore the 3rd Regional Dialogue on WTO Accessions for Africa which was held on 12-14 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was an important milestone. The event focussed on the “Deepening Economic Integration in Africa through WTO Membership and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation”. Hosted by the government of Ethiopia, the 3-day event was organized by the WTO Secretariat, in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the World Bank.

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Alastair Tempest

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