African Continental Free Trade Area enters into effect on 01 January 2021
28 Dec 2020
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was signed in March 2018.
The AfCFTA consists of three Protocols, namely:
- Protocol on Trade in Goods;
- Protocol on Trade in Services; and
- Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes.
Trade under the AfCFTA starts on 01 January 2021 among countries having submitted their market access offers and ratified the Agreement.
As at December 2020, 34 countries have ratified the Agreement, namely Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
With regard to trade in goods, upon entry into force of the Agreement, Mauritius would benefit from preferential access on those products whereby the rules of origin exists.
In principle, countries and members of Customs Unions with which Mauritius can trade on preferential terms under the AfCFTA as from 1st January 2021 are as follows:
- Sao Tome and Principe
1. Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) Cameroon, Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon
2. East African Community (EAC) Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda
3. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Togo, Cabo Verde and Mali
4. Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa
However, it is to be noted that trade with COMESA/SADC Member States will continue on the basis of the COMESA Treaty and the SADC Trade Protocol as is the case currently. Consequently, the AfCFTA opens up trade opportunities on non COMESA/SADC markets.
Details of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the market access offers of the above countries and applicable rules of origin are available on the Mauritius Trade Portal (www.mauritiustrade.mu).