The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). What’s in it for Zambia
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a flagship project of African Union Agenda 2063 and refers to a continental geographic zone in which goods and services are to move with, no restrictions; among member states of the African Union (AU). The AfCFTA aims to boost Intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreements among the member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. The agreement has been signed by member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than US$2 trillion. The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 % of goods, with 10% of “sensitive items” to be phased in later. The agreement is also set with the aim of liberalising services and to tackle non-tariff barriers, which hinder trade between African countries.
The (CFTA) intends to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union. Through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa in general; the CFTA aims to expand intra African trade. It further aims to resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes. Through exploiting opportunities for scales of production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources; the CFTA further aims to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level.