FILE- President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi gives a speech at the opening session of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum on Friday, April 26, 2019- Press photo FILE- President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi gives a speech at the opening session of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum on Friday, April 26, 2019- Press photo

Free trade area among 20 African nations finally becoming reality

Sun, Jul. 7, 2019
CAIRO – 7 July 2019: Being the president of the African Union (AU) for 2019, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced officially Sunday that the agreement of the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA) has just come into force to enhance the inter-African trade.

In his speech at the extraordinary African summit that kicked off Sunday in Niger, President Sisi highlighted the significance of enhancing the partnership with the private sector in the AfCFTA, saying that industrial integrity among the African countries require more cooperation on all levels.

“The development of infrastructure is inevitable. We must strive to achieve peoples’ aspirations to development and prosperity,” Sisi said.

The agreement, which was already signed buy more than 20 African countries, already has come into force since May 30, 2019, serving 1.2 billion African people.

Leaders and heads of governments of 55 African Union countries are taking part in the 12th extraordinary African summit that runs through Monday.

The benefits expected from the intra-African trade were estimated 52 percentby the year 2022. In January 2019, the Egyptian government approved the agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018, constituting the legal basis of the AfCFTA and its relevant protocols.

The main goal of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government is the selection of an African country that houses the headquarters of the AfCFTA. Seven member states (Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal) have submitted bids to host the secretariat. The decision will be made during the general assembly encompassing the heads of state and government.

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Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi and Noha el-Tawil
 
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