Online | 12 Aug 2016
In May representatives from the African Union held the second session of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF). Topics discussed included the rules of procedure for the CFTA negotiating institutions, the guiding principles and the modalities for the CFTA negotiations, the work plan for the CFTA-NF, as well as the terms of reference for the technical working groups. The meeting followed up on the three meetings held in November 2015 on enhancing intra-African trade. Participants back then examined the progress and prospects for regional integration in the context of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), the issues of modalities of the agreement, but also the monitoring of the implementation of the AU Action Plan for Boosting Intra African Trade (BIAT). The Action Plan sets the basis for the CFTA and it aims to increase market integration and volume of trade amongst African countries. The negotiations on CFTA were launched in 2015 and it is expected to be implemented in 2017. If successful, the CFTA will create the biggest free trade area in the world and increase the intra-continental trade by more than 52% in the first 5 years. A special attention during the meetings was paid to the options and potential modalities for the liberalisation of services. The governance of the CFTA provides for the establishment of an African Business Council. The possible collaboration was discussed at a separate meeting at the Seychelles.
One of the objectives of the Global Donor Platform’s working group on trade is to enhance knowledge and experience sharing of donor’s support for regional/continental trade facilitation in Africa.