The Ambassador of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia, Babatunde Ajisomo, has urged Liberia and other countries that are yet to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to do so to preserve ECOWAS and the AfCFTA that is coherent with regional advancements made so far.
AfCFTA is a trade agreement subsisting among 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018 and as of July 2019, 54 states have signed the agreement but only 27 have ratified the document.
Speaking Monday at the start of a sensitization workshop on Trade Protocols and Agreements for the Private sector held at a local hotel in Monrovia, Ajisomo said thus far for the ECOWAS region, all member states have signed the AfCFTA agreement and 10 out of 27 ECOWAS member states have also ratified the agreement.
He said 44 of 55 African countries signed the AfCFTA Agreement, adding that they have made progress since then.
Ajisomo said it is encouraging to note that signatories have risen to 54, saying that only the state of Eritrea is yet to sign the agreement.
He stated that the creation of single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investment, would help to bring deeper integration and turn the 55 single African economic blocks into a more coherent, larger single market.
Ajisomo pointed out that a larger and more viable economic space would allow African markets to function better and promote competition, as well as resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping regional economic communities, thereby helping to boost intra-continental trade.
He said the sheer size of the single market would provide a more conducive environment for industrial diversification and regional complementarities
He disclosed that the United Nations Economic Commission calculates that the AFCFTA could increase intra-Africa trade by as much as US$35 billion per year or 52 percent above the baseline by 2022.