July 11, 2018: South Africa has signed the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement with the African Union to benefit from inter-regional trade within the African continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the agreement during the AU Summit that took place from July 1 – 2, 2018 in the Republic of Mauritania under the theme - ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.’

“This agreement is an important step towards South Africa’s participation in a market of over one billion people and will create opportunities and many benefits for South Africa, which would enable South African companies to export goods and services across the continent. South Africa remains committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over one billion people and approximately $3.3 trillion in GDP,” he said.

The new markets in West Africa and North Africa will provide opportunities for the export of South African products. To date, the agreement has been ratified by six countries, namely Chad, eSwatini, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Niger.

The objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments; accelerate the establishment of the customs union; expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general and enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

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