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PAP To Ensure Trade Within Africa Becomes A Reality

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) has resolved to encourage African countries to allow free trade to happen within African countries.PAP adopted a report on Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). The report was presented by Hon. Alex Chersia Grant from Liberia who serves as vice chairperson of the Permanent Committee on Trade, Customs, and Immigration matters.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is the result of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among all 55 members of the African Union. If ratified, the agreement would result in the largest free-trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

African heads of state and government gathered in KigaliRwanda in March 2018 to sign the proposed agreement. Forty-four of the 55 members of the African Union signed it on 21 March 2018.

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is a continent-wide free-trade agreement brokered by the African Union (AU) and initially signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in KigaliRwanda on March 21, 2018. The agreement initially required members to remove tariffs from 90 percent of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022. The proposal will come into force after ratification by 22 of the signatory states.

The PAP legislators are now required by the continental legislature to ensure that their respective national governments ratify the AFCFTA. The MPs agreed to ensure timely ratification of AFCFTA legal instruments once the executive branches had availed them to national parliaments.

As elected representatives in their constituencies, the legislators agreed to encourage African private sector in their countries to invest and trade in the AFCFTA in order to generate jobs and decent standards of living.

As members of the oversight institutions over the executive branch of their respective governments, the MPs agreed to demand (from their national governments) regular updates on their respective countries’ actions and progress concerning the AFCFTA.

The AFCFTA was seen by the legislators as an initiative that offered policy credibility and enhanced market access to investors from both Africa and the rest of the world. ACFCTA is seen as a good exercise for Africans because it is going to improve living standards of African people.

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