(Ecofin Agency) - The lower chamber of the parliament of Côte d’Ivoire adopted, on October 31, 2018, a draft law authorizing the government to ratify the agreement for the creation of an African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ).
For the Ivorian minister of trade, industry, and promotion of SMEs Souleymane Diarrassouba, "the African Free Trade Zone offers a mine of opportunities to our companies (…) It will also contribute to an increase in the turnover of our industrials. This will let them increase their capacity in terms of transformation and by extension, job creation in Côte d’Ivoire".
"Our country has always had an economy open to the outside on a sub-regional as well as international level. Our figures in terms of intra-African trade which is around 34%, while it is 25% for the ECOWAS, is eloquent enough”, said Souleymane Diarrassouba, explaining the country’s capacity to export its manufactured products beyond the ECOWAS.
Adopted on March 21, 2018 during the special summit of the African Union in Kigali, the AFTZ is aimed at creating a unique market in Africa with more than 1.2 billion consumers (which will rise to 2.5 billion by 2050 according to forecasts) by notably suppressing customs duty for 90% of the goods exchanged within the continent.
Forty-four countries had ratified the agreement relative to the creation of that zone. A figure that rose to 49 during the last summit of the African Union in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
In July 2018, 8 countries submitted their instruments of ratification while 22 ratifications were needed for the enactment of this agreement.