The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement comes into effect on January 1, 2021, but Zambia is one of the 21 countries that have not yet deposited their instruments of ratification.
Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Christopher Yaluma, disclosed at a media briefing in Lusaka on Thursday that the official launch of the AfCFTA will take place at a virtue event which will be graced by the African Union Chairperson and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Ghana’s President, Nana Akuffo Addo.
Yaluma, however, disclosed that among the 55 Member States, Zambia is one of the 21 countries that have not yet deposited their instruments of ratification.
According to the Minister, the country has been given Cabinet approval to ratify the agreement, but currently under consideration by parliament for approval.
Yaluma revealed that Zambia became a signatory to the framework agreement establishing the AfCFTA since February 10, 2019.
He explained that the launch entails that AU Member States will now trade with each other across regional blocks under a single preferential trading regime.
The Minister noted that the establishment of the AfCFTA is part of the AU’s wide agenda to boost intra Africa trade and contribute to the attainment of the envisioned Africa in line with the vision 2063.
“I take this opportunity to signal the launch of the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement scheduled to commence on January 1st, 2021. The launch of the start of trading under AfCFTA is a culmination of years of intense negotiations by AU Member States, work which is still going on,” Yaluma stated.
The AfCFTA was officially launched on March 21, 2018, in Kigali, Rwanda.
As of December 2020, 54 AU Member States had signed the AfCFTA agreement.