Skip to content

News From the AfCFTA – The Digital Trade Protocol is Adopted by the Heads of State

The Heads of State adopted the Digital Trade, and Women and Youth in Trade Protocols at their meeting on 18 Feb. They also re-elected HE Wamkele Mene as S-G of the AfCFTA. The Digital Trade Protocol arrived at the meeting with 2 key articles still in brackets (in other words not agreed). These related to customs duties applicable to digital transmissions (see the discussion on the WTO Moratorium above). SA required that only digital products of African origin should be tariff-free. The question therefore is – what is an African originated digital product? An annex will be drafted to provide a country-of-origin definition. There will also be 7 other annexes to interpret other aspects of the Protocol. State Parties are pressing to have these annexes drafted as soon as possible in order to complete the DT Protocol.

Mr Wamkele Mene’s re-election as AfCFTA Secretary General marks a pivotal moment for Africa’s economic future. As the press coverage of the re-election reminded everyone, the AfCFTA, envisioned as a cornerstone of the AU’s Agenda 2063 development plan, aims to increase intra-African trade and create a prosperous, united continent. Technology and infrastructure development are key to overcoming challenges and realizing this vision.

Apart from the draft Agreement on Financial Services (see below) the AfCFTA must also consider a draft Agreement on Communication this year. In general, the work plan of the AfCFTA is progressing well.

Alastair Tempest

Become a member

Join the Ecommerce Forum South Africa and benefit from industry insights in South Africa and Africa.

Sign up to newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and stay informed of the progress we are making at the Ecommerce Forum South Africa with government during Coronavirus.