Israel Osorio Rodarte is an economist in the Department of Trade and Regional Integration at the World Bank. He has more than 10 years of experience in international development, including economic diversification, structural change and analysis of the distribution of trade and macroeconomic policies. In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded by the independent states of Africa. The aim of the OAU was to promote cooperation between African states. The 1980 Lagos Action Plan was adopted by the organization. The plan proposed that Africa minimize its dependence on the West by encouraging intra-African trade. It began with the creation of a number of regional cooperation organizations in different parts of Africa, such as the Conference on the Coordination of Southern African Development. Finally, in 1991, this led to the Abuja Treaty, which founded the African Economic Community, an organization that encouraged the development of free trade zones, customs union, an African Central Bank and a common African monetary union.   Free download.
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader for free to view this PDF The following institutions have been set up to facilitate the implementation of the free trade area. As a result of the Phase II negotiations, additional committees may be set up through minutes.  The Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA) will create the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries. The pact connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries for a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on the introduction of meaningful political reforms and trade facilitation. The implementation phase of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to begin in less than three months. While the COVID 19 crisis has undoubtedly complicated the situation, the East African region is indeed well placed to implement the AfCFTA. Despite the skepticism expressed by some quarters about the ability of countries to launch the pioneering trade agreement, there is good reason to be optimistic.
Guillermo Arenas is an economist in the Department of Trade and Regional Integration (ETIRI) at the World Bank. His area of expertise covers various aspects of the international economy and public order, including trade policy, export competitiveness and impact analysis. The SAfCFTA secretariat is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement and is an autonomous body within the AU system.