One more ratification and AfCFTA comes into force!
By Nsikan Ikpe
With Ethiopia’s parliament ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA on Thursday, the race is now open for the African nation that would score the ‘golden goal’ in the race to bring the treaty into effect.
This is because the Ethiopian ratification brings the total number of ratifying countries to 21, only one short of the 22 required to formally inaugurate the treaty.
Other nations that had previously ratified the treaty are Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Niger, Chad, Guinea, eSwatini (former Swaziland), Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, Congo, Togo, Mauritania and Djibouti.
The agreement, which has been provisionally assented to by heads of states of 52 of Africa’s 55 nations since the signing process began a year ago in Kigali, Rwanda, will bring into effect the single biggest Free Trade Zone known to man in history within a combined population block of 1.4billion people.
Proponents see it as the single biggest landmark cooperation event that the African continent has undertaken since the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, the decolonisation of the continent and the inception of the African Union, AU.
The three hold-out nations that are yet to sign the agreement are Nigeria, Republic of Benin and Guinea Bissau.
Continent watchers expect the golden goal to yet be scored within the next few weeks and that over half of the continent would have ratified the agreement before the close of the year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya