Agreement on African Free Trade Zone to come into force within weeks

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Chairman of the African Union Commission (AU) Moussa Faki Mahamat on Thursday in Addis-Ababa, dubbed “encouraging” the progress in terms of the talks on the African Free Trade Zone, adding that the agreement on the Zone would come into force “within weeks.”

 

“The progress made in terms of the Free Trade Zone is notably encouraging. Based on the current pace of ratification, the Agreement is expected to come into force within weeks,” Faki said at the 34th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council.

He expressed the hope that “the six countries that have not yet signed this Agreement will do so as soon as possible and that those who have already taken this step will quickly conclude the ratification processes.”

“We must also ensure that the international commitments made by some member states with third parties do not contradict the provisions of this Free Trade Zone,” he added.

The achievement of the objectives of the Free Trade Zone also implies that “we are progressing more rapidly on the Single Market for Air Transport and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport,” added the Commission chairman.

The deepening of the integration process continues to mobilize energies.

The Chairman of the AU Commission, who made an assessment of the Union’s activity during the past six months to define the future approach, said that the AU bodies adoption of the directives on the design, the features and the production of the African passport will be of “paramount importance.”

“Progress has also been made on other aspects of the integration process, chiefly the Programme on Infrastructure Development in Africa and the Establishment of an African Electricity Market,” he announced.

However, he called for “speeding up” the establishment of the AU financial institutions, namely the Central Bank, the Investment Bank and the African Monetary Fund. With regard to the first two institutions, the objective is “to speed up the ratification process to enable them to enter into force.”

Concerning the Peace Fund, he deemed “crucial to achieve the objectives set, including the mobilization of $ 400 million by 2021, and to ensure sustainable funding for this tool through assessed contributions.”

“This goal is perfectly within our reach,” he said.

 

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