Photograph — African Union

The African Continental Free Trade Area is set to come into force as the requirement for the minimum number of countries required to ratify the agreement was fulfilled yesterday. Gambia became the 22nd African Union member to ratify the AfCFTA after its parliament members approved the agreement on Tuesday.

The AfCFTA trade agreement was signed by African Union countries on the 21st of March 2018 in an AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda. However, the signing of the agreement last year didn’t translate to the implementation of the AfCFTA. The agreement still needed to be ratified by the parliaments of at least 22 member states of the AU before it comes into force. Gambia’s approval yesterday means that the AfCFTA can now be put into action by the African Union.

The AfCFTA will improve intra-African trade by 52 percent, and remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods. It will also encompass more than 1 billion people on the continent with a potential $2 trillion in GDP.

Officials from the African Union expressed their happiness on Twitter yesterday after the announcement from the Gambia.

The implementation of the agreement will begin 30 days after the 22nd country has ratified the agreement; meaning that the AfCFTA comes into full force in May. Presently, Nigeria, Eritrea, and Benin are the only countries yet to sign the AfCFTA agreement.

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