Eastern Africa advancing in signing AfCFTA, says Vera Songwe

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Eastern Africa countries are providing fast-track reflection to ratify the Continental Free Trade Area agreement, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe said.

The Executive Secretary told journalists on Tuesday that  “Ethiopia in particular, the cabinet has just approved it, so it is now in parliament. For Ethiopia it will be ratified soon.”

To date, four East African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia have ratified the agreement and Djibouti is to endorse swiftly.

“So, Eastern Africa is doing well on the ratification, but we hope soon all of Africa will. Today we have 18 countries that have ratified; we need 22 for it to get into effect. Hopefully by the end of the Summit we will get 22 and if not for sure by June we will have 22,” she pointed out.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is aimed at creating single continental market, with free movement of persons, was launched during an extra-ordinary summit of the African Union (AU) heads of state in March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Thus far, 18 countries have ratified the agreement and it will enter into force once twenty-two member states have deposited their instruments of ratification.

African Congenital Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the AU’s priority projects under Agenda 2063.

In light with this, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is working together with the African Union (AU) on internally displaced people, which is the theme of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) summit, she added.

The UNECA has finished working on migration aligned with the Global Compact for Migration, the Executive Secretary, said and added “we were grateful because we benefited from the support of the African Union to come together with an African position in Marrakesh.”

Furthermore, she lauded African countries for being the largest number of countries to have signed the Global Compact on Migration.

“African countries are the ones that treat their migrants the best of all and today we have 28 countries that have adopted the Kampala Convention we need a few more and so we hope that as Africa we will be leading example on the issues of internally displaced people and migrants,” Songwe pointed out.

Mentioning that Africa has 14 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), she stressed “we need to take care of them”.


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