The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on 30 May 2019 will turn Africa into a single market of 1.2 billion people worth US$2.5 trillion.
On 29 April this year, 22 African countries had ratified the AfCFTA, which was the threshold number of countries required to make the Agreement effective, allowing the Agreement to enter into force 30 days later. The African Union is scheduled to convene a summit on 7 July in Niger, to initiate the operations of the AfCFTA.
Since March last year, 52 of the 55 members of the African Union have signed the Agreement, with however Nigeria, the largest African economy, not amongst the signatories. The 24 countries that later ratified the Agreement include other important African economies such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Eswatini.
As currently only 16% of African trade are conducted between neighboring countries within the Continent, step-wise elimination of tariffs is expected to increase trade within the continent by 60% in the next 3 years. The BOFT suggests that, once the Agreement is fully implemented, there will be huge opportunities in the region. Taiwan has recently signed an ECA with Eswatini. We are expecting to use it as a platform to further explore the African market.