African free trade bloc ‘AfCFTA’ opens for business after months of delays

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African free trade bloc ‘AfCFTA’ opens for business after months of delays

On Friday, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a free trade bloc of 54 African nations founded back in the March of 2018, had finally started off official trading after long-drawn delays stemmed off the pandemic outbreak, laying off a groundwork which has been expected to pull a number of African countries out of an extreme poverty.

Nonetheless, sceptics were quoted saying that a launch of AfCFTA in the first day of 2021, had been largely emblematic, while a full implementation of the deal could take years in context of a deep difference among a deluge of neighbouring African countries.

On the contrary, policymakers behind AfCFTA deal had said followed by the announcement that the free trade agreement, which was introduced to bring together a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, the largest free trade zone since establishment of WTO (World Trade Organization) back in the January of 1995, containing an approximated 1.3 billion Africans, would buoy up trades among the region's neighbours and enable the grief-sickened continent to transplant its own value chains.

World Bank estimates AfCFTA could lift millions of Africans out of poverty by 2035

On top of that, as the Washington-headquartered world’s largest lender, World Bank, had forecasted last year that the deal in effect would be able to pull millions of African nationals out of an extreme poverty by 2035, speaking in an online launch ceremony, President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo said earlier in the day, “There is a new Africa emerging with a sense of urgency and purpose and an aspiration to become self-reliant.

Meanwhile, citing that the pandemic outbreak had pin-pointed Africa’s sheer dependency on global supply chain, Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene said in a statement, “COVID-19 has demonstrated that Africa is overly reliant on the export of primary commodities, overly reliant on global supply chains.

When the global supply chains are disrupted, we know that Africa suffers”. Nevertheless, so far 34 out of 54 African Union member-states had ratified the deal, while every African country but Eritrea had signed up for the AfCFTA framework accord.