African countries urged to ratify CFTA agreement

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement is the solution to reducing trade volatility and enhancing Africa’s high growth rate, the World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Dr Albert Zeufack has said

To this end, he has entreated all the African countries to ratify the agreement.

Dr Zeufack who made the call in Accra on Monday during the launch of the World Bank’s Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies, said the CFTA would help boost the growth of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA.)

Growth in SSA has been downgraded to 2.3 per cent for 2018, down from 2.5 per cent in 2017, the Africa Pulse said.

He explained that the CFTA could lead to the strengthening of the regional value-chains, stressing that, “It is a positive step for Africa.”

The 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017.

The summit also endorsed the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) which identifies seven clusters: trade policy, trade facilitation, and productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor market integration.

It is envisaged that the CFTA would bring together fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $3.4 trillion.

The CFTA, among others, is intended 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.

Dr Zeufack said it was important for African countries to begin to address tariff and non-tariff issues under the CFTA.

The World Bank Chief Economist for Africa expressed the hope that the CFTA would help to integrate the continent’s product and people.

Dr Zeufack said the World Bank was supporting the African Union to implement the agreement.

By Kingsley Asare

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