The Agreement establishing the AfCFTA came into force on 30 th May 2019 and preferential trade under same started on 01 January 2021. The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to:
54 countries, with the exception of Eritrea, have signed the Agreement.
The Agreement establishing the AfCFTA currently covers Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights.
Currently only the Protocols on Trade in Goods and Trade in Services are in force.
The remaining three Protocols covering Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights are yet to be ratified by the AfCFTA State Parties. They shall enter into force thirty days after the deposit of the twenty second instrument of ratification.
The Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, including the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the Protocol on Trade in Services are available here.
Trade in goods negotiations cover both market access/tariff offers and rules of Origin.
In October 2021, the AfCFTA Council of Ministers adopted a Ministerial Directive allowing countries which have submitted their provisional schedules of tariff concessions covering at least 90% of tariff lines, to start immediate implementation of these Schedules.
The Ministerial Directive (1/2021) provides for the reduction or elimination of customs duties on a preferential and reciprocal basis as provided for in all the Schedules as per Annex 1 of the Ministerial Directives.
The rules of origin under the AfCFTA are product-specific.
To benefit from preferential access under the agreement, exporters should obtain an AfCFTA Certificate of Origin certifying that the goods meet the Rules of Origin Criteria. The Certificate of Origin is both issued and approved by the Customs Department of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA).
More information can be obtained from the Customs Department:
The rules of origin and the tariff offers of the AfCFTA Members can be accessed here: etariff.au-afcfta.org
The elimination of NTBs is critical to boosting intra-Africa trade and achieving the objectives of the AfCFTA. It will reduce the costs of trading across borders and ease cross-border movement of goods. The bulk of the AfCFTA benefits will be realised if State Parties efficiently manage and eliminate NTBs.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)'s Non-Tariff Barriers online reporting, monitoring and eliminating mechanism is a facility developed to enhance trade through removal of non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs).
Traders can report any obstacle encountered when trading goods across intra-African borders, for example excessive delays, ad hoc fees at the border, cumbersome document requirements, restrictive product standards and regulations etc.
The online mechanism is open to all African business sectors: small, medium and large companies, informal traders, women and youth business operators. The mechanism is available online at www.tradebarriers.africa
Watch a quick introduction video about the mechanism: www.tradebarriers.africa/about
Trade in Services negotiations under the AfCFTA covers five priority sectors, namely: Business services; Communication services; Financial services; Tourism services and Transport Services.
In November 2022, the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU Heads of State and Government adopted the Ministerial Directive on the implementation of the approved Schedules of Specific Commitments of State Parties.