IGD Executive Vice-President Leila Ndiaye was a guest on VOA Afrique, where she offered insight on the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Zone.
At the African Union summit in Kigali, 44 African countries signed a historic agreement marking the launch of the continental free trade zone. The trade pact is the largest trade agreement signed since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established.
The trade agreement will bring together 12 billion people for a common market with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.
The agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods; the other 10 percent of “sensitive goods” will be phased in later. The agreement will also liberalize services and tackle “non-tariff barriers” trade that hinder regional trade between African countries, such as long delays at the border.
Ndiaye noted that African countries signing the trade agreement must be commended for producing the trade pact in such a short period of time, emphasizing that it shows a strong commitment to increasing trade with their neighbors and regional integration.
She added that the trade agreement also sets countries on the right path to eventually a single currency and one passport for all members of the African Union.