AfDB approves US$4.8mn grant to accelerate African free trade

afdb trade 11aAfrican Development Bank (AfDB) has approved an institutional support grant of US$4.8mn to the African Union (AU) to accelerate the momentum of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA)

AfCFTA received its 22nd ratification on 2 April 2019, bringing the agreement into force.

The AfCFTA is a major force for continental integration. It is expected to expand intra-African trade by up to US$35bn per year and usher in freedom of movement for goods, services and people across the continent’s internal borders, with a regime of reduced tariffs and non-tariff barriers to cut the cost of doing business on the continent. It will also boost agriculture and industrial exports by up to US$66bn per year.

AfDB’s grant is targeted at laying the institutional foundations for the AfCFTA implementation secretariat and the rollout of the implementation programmes.

Andoh Mensah, manager for trade and investment climate division at AfDB, said, “It is now crucial to establish a robust, efficient, purpose-driven secretariat, capable of addressing improved stakeholder engagement, inclusiveness and ownership in the AfCFTA implementation.”

The grant is set to assist efforts towards full ratification of the agreement by all AU member states including the application of tariff reductions and related commitments while generating stakeholder support for the AfCFTA to ensure inclusiveness and common ownership.

This is a decisive response to the call by African political leaders for the Bank and other partners to support the AU Commission and work assiduously towards the realisation of AfCFTA objectives.

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