Tanzania’s parliament has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent.
With its ratification of the agreement on Thursday, Tanzania joins about 42 of the 55 African Union (AU) members that have now ratified the AfCFTA that seeks to increase intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022 and remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods.
Minister of Industry and Trade Kitila Mkumbo told parliament in the capital, Dodoma, that Tanzania conducted thorough research prior to ratification of the agreement.
He said Tanzania has already started to benefit from the vast African markets by trading with 19 African countries.
Mkumbo said the AfCFTA, which covers a market of 1.2 billion people and 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars in combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is expected to strengthen the value chain for agricultural crops, stimulate production, and boost smallholder farmers engaging in the cultivation of sunflower, cotton, spices, cloves, and horticultural products.
The AfCFTA was signed by 44 of the 55 AU members on March 21, 2018, in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.
According to Article 23 of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA), entry into force occurs 30 days after the 22nd instrument of ratification is deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) – the designated depositary for this purpose.
The agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification by this date.
The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on July 7, 2019.
Trading under the AfCFTA Agreement began on Jan. 1, 2021.
As of Aug. 27, 2021, 38 countries had deposited their instruments of ratification (ordered by date).
The countries are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Eswatini, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Namibia, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, and South Africa.
Some others are, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Mauritania, Uganda, Senegal, Togo, Egypt, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.
Others are Burkina Faso, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, Central African Republic, Angola, Lesotho, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Algeria, and Burundi.
Parliamentary/Cabinet approval has been received for Seychelles. Somalia is pending.
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