Ghana and Kenya have made history as the first countries out of the 44 states to ratify the Continental Free Trade Area agreement which was signed in the Rwandan capital Kigali in March.
The two countries submitted their instruments of ratification to the African Union on Thursday ahead of the 180 days deadline for the landmark agreement to come into force.
“I hope this will galvanize other countries who have signed the CFTA to ratify it by 2019,” says the AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat who called on the other 42 countries who signed the agreement to ratify it.
11 countries including Nigeria and South Africa have not yet signed the agreement due to objections from business leaders and labour unions which they promised to settle before they sign on.
All 55 member states of the African Union are expected to sign the agreement which will bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion.
The draft agreement which was formulated after two years of negotiations commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.
This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com