Ramaphosa hails AfCFTA, says needed more time to consult

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the historic adoption by the African Union of an Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a new beginning for the continent that will catapult African countries and companies to much higher levels of growth.

According to estimates, the AfCFTA treaty is meant to bring together 55 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.

Ramaphosa says South Africa will become a signatory to the agreement once the legal and other instruments associated with AfCFTA are processed and ratified by South African stakeholders and Parliament.

A total of 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, while 27 signed the protocol to the treaty establishing the African economic community relaying to free movement of persons. An agreement which will create one of the world’s biggest trade blocs.

President Ramaphosa signed the Kigali Declaration for the Launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area during Wednesday’s plenary session of the Summit.

“This is an opportunity that is going to yield great benefits for all countries on the continent as well as big business, small companies and micro-traders,” President Ramaphosa said at the conclusion of his Working Visit to the Republic of Rwanda.

In his capacity as the Chair of the South African Development Community, President Ramaphosa said the trade-focused Kigali Summit was a “forward step in the arduous journey to translate the African Continental Free Trade Area legal instrument into an effective conduit for increased trade and investment across the African continent”.

He urged that the African Continental Free Trade Area should provide new and meaningful trade and investment opportunities across the African continent.

“Africa’s vulnerabilities and limited participation in global trade are indicative of its traditional reliance on the export of raw commodities and the import of value-added products,” Ramaphosa said.


AfCFTA is aimed at deepening African economic integration, promoting agricultural development, food security, industrialisation and structural economic transformation through single-air continental transport market with free movement of persons, capital, goods and services. Additional reporting by ANA