Combining 22 African countries with 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $2.5 trillion.
Covering a market of 1.2 billion people and GDP of $2.5 trillion, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is to go in full effect by May 30th, as announced by Egypt's Trade Minister Amr Nassar. The landmark agreement will see 90% of trade tariffs lifted between the ratifying countries, which have now totaled at 22, Amwal Al Ghad reports.
Egypt, the only North African country to ratify the agreement, will be the trade bloc's second biggest economy after South Africa. Nigeria, which has Africa's biggest economy, is opposed to the agreement, which it believes will do more harm than good to its oil-dependent economy.
Once in its operational phase, which commences after a July 7th African summit, AfCTA will potentially boost internal trade between member countries by 52.% annually, as forecasted by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). It will be the world's second biggest free trade zone after the European Union.