World’s trading blocs take notice, prepare for windfall

By Anthony Opara

Japan has welcomed the entry into the league of Free Trade Areas the world over of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.

A statement from the Asian nation, which also doubles as one of the five strongest economies in the world outlined the commitment of the country to work with Africa on the project.

‘The Government of Japan welcomes the entry into force of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on May 30.

The Government of Japan hopes that the entry into force of this Agreement will promote trade among African countries and contribute to further economic growth in Africa.

The Government of Japan will continue to support, through the process of Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD process), those initiatives taken by the African countries themselves towards the economic development of Africa , including AfCFTA.’

Meanwhile, feelers available to the Difference indicate that China, The United States, France, the United Kingdom, the EU, Saudi Arabia and a host of nations and blocs are closely monitoring developments related to the treaty with a view to taking beneficial trading decisions that will favour them.

52 of the 55 African nations have already signed up for the treaty while 24 have ratified it. The formal launch comes up in Niamey, Niger on July 9.

Nigeria, Benin Republic and Eritrea are the only hold-out nations yet to append the deal.

Analysts say that the agreement would give further fillip to boosting intra-African trade as well as permitting the continent overall to leverage, in a more coordinated manner, on its trading relations with foreign trading blocs and nations.

The African Union Secretariat is also at the moment undertaking inspection visits to bidding nations with a view to determining the best fit to host the AfCFTA trade facilitation secretariat.

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister

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