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Africa to create TFTA free-trade zone

By Staff Reporter

 

A stock exchange in Egypt
The pact involves 26 countries from the three trade block from Cape Town to Cairo

Africa‘s largest free-trade zone is to be created, covering 26 countries and including more than 600 million people.

The deal, to be signed in Egypt, is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries which represent more than half the continent’s GDP.

Since the end of colonial rule, governments have been discussing ways to boost intra-African trade.

The poor state of roads, railways and national airlines have made it difficult to move goods across borders.

An Egyptian Republican Guard stands guard under an umbrella outside the venue of a ministerial meeting of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and Southern African Development Community, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, on 9 June 2015, on the eve of a summit to launch a three-way free trade area.
The deal is to be signed in Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, where this soldier stands guard

Three existing trade blocks – the Southern African Development Community (Sadc); the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) – are to sign the treaty to create the new zone.

cape-cairo

Imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, dreamt of Cape-Cairo trade rail line

The pact – known as the The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) – will then be officially unveiled at the upcoming summit of the African Union this weekend in South Africa.

The BBC’s Africa business reporter Lerato Mbele says the idea behind it is to remove trade barriers on most goods, which will stimulate $1tn (£648bn) worth of economic activity across the region.

However, concluding the deal in Egypt will merely be the first step and it will need to be approved by each countries’ parliament, before the wheels are set in motion, she says.

It is hoped that this will happen by 2017.

-BBC

 

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