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African Leaders Sign Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

African Leaders Sign Agreement Establishing Continental Free Trade Area

African countries on Wednesday signed an agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

The signing took place during the 10th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) on the AfCFTA.

Chairperson of AU Commission Moussa Mahamat was handed over the legal instruments signed by 40 African countries at the signing ceremony.

After the signing, the agreement will be submitted for ratification by state parties of the agreement in accordance with their domestic laws.

Experts said African regional integration will help enhance economic development.

This will be achieved through the lowest transaction costs for business, lower risks associated with investments, expansion of markets, better utilisation of economies of scale in production and more efficient allocation of resources, said Ismael Buchanan, Dean of the School of Economics and Governance at the University of Rwanda.

The AfCFTA is a move toward integration. And it will mark a key milestone in the integration, Buchanan told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

Some 40 countries signed the agreement establishing the AfCFTA, Chairperson of AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said during the ongoing signing ceremony.

The integration will raise Africa’s potential through increasing intra-Africa trade, said Teddy Kaberuka, an economic analyst.

This will lead to promotion of production capacity, thus, some important goods could be substituted to local production, Kaberuka said, adding that increased production capacity will also help create jobs.