Commencement of AfCFTA on 1st July Postponed to 1st January 2021 due to COVID-19; Albert Muchanga – AU Commissioner for Trade & Industry

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The much anticipated commencement of Trade on the Continent of Africa on the 1st of July has been postponed to January 1st 2021.

In a brief interview with H.E Albert Muchanga; the Trade & Industry Commissioner of the African Union on the phone – he confirmed that Member States came to a decision to push the Commencement of Trade on the Continent as announced and published earlier to the 1st of January 2021 due to the novel Corona Virus and its crippling impact on the Continent.

The phone interview which lasted for 8 minutes also had H.E Muchanga reiterate that, the Trade Commencement in January 1 2021 will be done with a massive Launch. He appealed to businesses to bear with the postponement as this was very necessary to safeguard the health of every person on the Continent.

He also urged the continent to get the conversation going on the MINDSET. He describes the MINDSET as one of the Non-Tariff Barriers in Intra-African Trade. He further stated the annual cost of the MINDSET is seen in the balance of Trade between Africa and the rest of the world.

Organizers of the annual Ghana International Trade & Finance Conference will adopt this new topic which borders on the scope of the theme for their 4th Conference thus; ‘’ Optimizing AfCFTA for Africans; The Role of Logistics Infrastructure’’ and set the agenda rolling on the MINDSET being a Non-Tariff Barrier in Intra-African Trade.

Brief About AfCFTA

The AfCFTA is to create 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.

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 AfCFTA by a tentative date of 2017.

The ACFTA will bring together 54 African nations with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion.

The 12th Extra Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State held in Niamey late last year endorsed the finality to the Free Trade Agreement of which Accra, Ghana was chosen to HOST the Secretariat. The Secretariat occupies 4 floors of the AFRICA TRADE HOUSE at Ridge in Accra.

South Africas Mane Wamkele was appointed and sworn in as the Secretary General of the Free Trade Area and was expected to assume office in Accra on the 31st of March 2020 but due to COVID-19, he is still locked up in South Africa waiting for the lifting of boarder closures.

So far, about 28 countries out of the 54 African nations have signed and ratified this agreement making it one of the fastest ratification procedures in the globe.

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