At least 44 African states including Uganda on Wednesday signed a pact establishing African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA] in Kigali, Rwanda to create a market of one billion people.
According to the final tally, 44 countries signed the “AfCFTA” treaty, 43 signed the “Kigali Declaration” while 27 signed the “Protocol on Free Movement of People and the African Passport”.
Burundi was singled out as those states that did not sign the trade treaty.
The agreement becomes the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organisation with the aim of boosting intra-Africa trade by making Africa a single market of 1.2 billion people and cumulated GDP of more than $3.4 trillion.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, said for Africa, after decades of independence, marked by persistent under-development and a marginal place in the international system, the terms of the debate are laid down in almost Manichean terms: “Unite or Perish, as Kwame Nkrumah said at the Addis Ababa founding Summit”.
Despite the good spirit of the treaty, some leaders like President Museveni of Uganda and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria refused to attend the summit.
Host and African Union chairman, also Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said the promise of free trade and free movement is prosperity for all Africans.
”…because we are prioritising the production of value-added goods and services that are made in Africa.”
Governments now have to ratify the CFTA in their countries within the next six months, by September this year. Those that did not sign can also do so during the window.
Countries and Signatories that have signed the AfCFTA in Rwanda:
1.Niger – President Mahamadou Issoufou
2.Rwanda – President Paul Kagame
3.Tchad – President Idriss Déby
4.Angola – President João Lourenço
5.Central African Republic – President Faustin-Archange Touadéra
- Comoros – President Azali Assoumani
- The Republic of Congo – President Denis Sassou Nguesso
- Djibouti – President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh
- Ghana – President Nana Akufo-Addo
- Gambia – President Adama Barrow
- Gabon – President Ali Bongo Ondimba
- Kenya – President Uhuru Kenyatta
- Mozambique – Filipe Nyusi
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – President Mohamed Abdelaziz
- Senegal – President Macky Sall
- South Africa – President Cyril Ramaphosa
- Sudan – President Omar al-Bashir
- Mauritania – President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
19.Zimbabwe – President Emmerson Mnangagwa
- Cote D’ivoire – Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan
21.Seychelles –Vincent Meriton – Vice President
- Algeria –Ahmed Ouyahia – Prime Minister
23.Equatorial Guinea – Francisco Pascual Obama Asue – Prime Minister
24.Lesotho – Tom Thabane – Prime Minister
- Morocco – Saadeddine Othmani – Prime Minister
- Swaziland – Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister
- Tanzania – Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister
28.Tunisia – Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister
29.Benin – Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Burkina Faso – Alpha Barry, Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Democratic Republic of Congo – Léonard Okitundu, Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Guinea – Mamadi Touré, Foreign Affairs Minister
- Liberia – Gbehzohngar Findley, Foreign Affairs Minister
34.Mali – Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Somalia – Minister for Foreign Affairs
- South Sudan – Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Uganda – Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs
- São Tomé and Príncipe – Cabinet Minister
- Togo – Minister for Cooperation and Integration
- Malawi – Emmanuel Fabiano, Foreign Affairs Minister
- Cameroon – Finance Minister
42.Cape Verde –Tourism, Industry and Energy Minister
- Libya – Mohamed Taha Siala, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Madagascar – Henry Rabary Njaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Zambia* – Joe Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Egypt – Tarek Kabil, Trade & Industry Minister
- Mauritius – Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Foreign Affairs Minister
- Ethiopia – Bekele Bulado, Trade Trade
- Namibia* – Minister of Industrialization
- Botswana* – Minister for Trade