AU Summit: Buhari cancels Rwanda trip, withdraws from signing African trade agreement

Clay Curtis
March 20, 2018

Cabinet has directed the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and East African Community Affairs to examine the provisions within the African Continental Free Trade Area.

President Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday, said that the cancellation of his trip to Kigali, the Rwandan Capital for the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union was to make more consultations especially the stakeholders.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has left Harare for Kigali, Rwanda for an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union which is expected to see the signing of the agreement launching the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Each of African countries has to do its part, she said.

The United States unilaterally announced increases in steel and aluminum tariffs, while now Africa exports to that country are around $800 million Dollars in products of that nature, said Songwe, at the 18th Executive Council Meeting of the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Summit on the AfCFTA.

Mr Landry Signe, a development expert with Stanford University in the United States, said the agreement could help these industries, while giving African countries a unified platform to negotiate trade deals with wealthier nations.

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Leaders of Africa's 55 countries will make history when they come together to sign an agreement that will launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (the AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA could create an African market of over 1,2 billion people with a GDP of $2,5 trillion, the pan-African bloc said.

The AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, the African Union's long-term vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

The AfCFTA will also strengthen Africa's position in global trade, he added.

At its most recent summit in Ethiopia in January, AU member states agreed to a common air transport market that could drive down air fares, as well as plans for visa-free travel for Africans across the continent. The Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 53 percent by eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers.

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