African nations agree deal for Continental Free Trade Area

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State leaders from 44 African countries have agreed a deal to create a Continental Free Trade Area, set to become one of the largest in the world.

The agreement was signed during a summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, although 10 countries refused to sign the deal, which will need to be ratified by all the signatories’ national parliaments before it can be put into effect.

CFTA deal signed by African nations

The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) will remove a number of barriers to trade between African nations, including tariffs and import quotas, while allowing the free flow of goods and services between member countries – similar to the way the European Union operates now.

The aim is to boost commerce, growth and employment in member states and make intra-African trade more profitable.

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, is among the countries refusing to sign the deal and convincing the West African nation to get on board remains one of the biggest obstacles in the way of implementing the agreement. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari pulled out of last week’s summit after certain trade unions and businesses complained about not being consulted over the agreement.

The African Union says it hopes the remaining countries will be persuaded to sign at a later date.

Featured image: By U.S. Department of State – https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/8826657534/sizes/o/in/photostream/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26305920

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.