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International Trade Corner: August 2021

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a key strategic component of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. As its formal name indicates, the new free trade area spans the entire African continent with 54 of the 55 members of the African Union and an estimated 1.3 billion people part of it.  Based on the number of participating countries, the AfCFTA is the world’s largest Free Trade Area (FTA). The AfCFTA saw actual trading commence in January, 2021, so it is now up and running. 

According to the text of the “Agreement to Establish the African Continental Free Trade Area,”  the general objectives of the AfCFTA are:

 (a) create a single market for goods, services, facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent and in accordance with the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in Agenda 2063; 

(b) create a liberalized market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations; 

(c) contribute to the movement of capital and natural persons and facilitate investments building on the initiatives and developments in the State Parties and RECs; 

(d) lay the foundation for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union at a later stage; 

(e) promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformation of the State Parties;

 (f) enhance the competitiveness of the economies of State Parties within the continent and the global market; 

(g) promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security; and

(h) resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.

For Further Information on the AfCFTA:

Mississippi based businesses that are looking to expand internationally would be well-served to learn more about the AfCFTA and how it can serve as a platform for entering into Africa and reaching various markets throughout that continent. If you would like to discuss the AfCFTA and/or to explore additional international trade opportunities, please contact Anthony Cambas, Mississippi Small Business Development Center Manager of International Trade at or 228-275-2005. 

Additional Information:

Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area

PowerPoint Presentation