Ministry of Trade in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice is preparing instruments to be deposited with the African Union (AU) for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) .
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera confirmed the development on Tuesday.
The continental free trade area is expected to rollout on January 1 2021.
“We are proceeding with ratification after successful consultations with key stakeholders. We will do so before the year ends,” he said.
As of November 11, only 30 AU member States had ratified the AfCFTA agreement.
Once the agreement comes into effect, 90 percent of the products in Africa will enter duty-free.
Recently published World Bank report titled The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects found that if implemented fully, the AfCFTA could boost regional income by $450 billion, bringing 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 (about K3 800) a day.
In terms of gains, World Bank said the AfCFTA can, in the short-term, mitigate some of the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by supporting regional trade and value chains and, in the long-term, provide a framework for increased cooperation, integration, and policy reform in Africa.
The bank estimates that the highest income gains will occur in Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Namibia, which would see income gains of over 10 percent each by 2035.
On the other hand, countries such as Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi would see income gains of less than three percent.
National Working Group on Trade and Policy chairperson Frederick Changaya observed in an interview on Tuesday that with no multiplier effect and a heavily subsidised manufacturing of food products in other countries, the country needs to revisit its policies.
The AfCFTA is expected to bring together 55 African countries with a combined population of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.