(Ecofin Agency) - African countries will have to postpone the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) due to the current coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made yesterday April 28 by Wamkele Mene (pictured), the Secretary-General of the Single Market.
While the implementation of the zone was already threatened by certain protectionist tendencies observed on the continent (in Nigeria in particular), the new health crisis should slow down its operationalization. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 52 African countries have reported active cases on their territory, and they took restrictive measures to control its propagation.
“It is not possible to start a trade as we planned on 1 July under the current circumstances,” Mene said in a statement relayed by Reuters.
While the official did not provide any details on the new date for the implementation of the single market, he said that “the political will remains to integrate the African market and implement the agreement as planned. The AfCFTA, which brings together all African countries, aims to create the new largest free trade area with a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion and 1.3 billion potential consumers.
For the secretary-general, the implementation of the market could moreover become Africa's main recovery plan once the covid-19 pandemic is over.
As a reminder, according to the latest assessment of the African Union dated 28 April 2020, the disease has affected 33,566 people, causing 1,469 deaths while 10,152 people have recovered.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou