Senior officials of the African Union say encouraging progress has been made with the African Continental Free Trade Area.
AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga, said on Friday that major efforts were underway to achieve an integrated African market of more than 1.2 billion people.
A total of 49 of the AU’s 55 member states have signed the AfCFTA agreement, and 13 countries have ratified it, while 12 others are in advanced stages of obtaining parliamentary approval for ratification, according to AU.
A minimum of 22 ratifications are required for the AfCFTA to come into force.
With a single African market, the AU commissioner said, the continent will be able to better promote infrastructure development and investment in the manufacturing sector.
Currently, 42 per cent of intra-African trade is made up of manufactured goods.
Stressing that industrialisation and infrastructure are at the core of the AfCFTA, AU Director for Trade and Industry, Treasure Maphanga, said AfCFTA also brings better opportunities to partners outside the continent.
“It is really a moment where, I think, a lot is possible. For us, AfCFTA is a win-win. It is good for Africa; it is good for our partners,” she added.