THE long-awaited Free Trade Area (FTA) that aims to increase intra-regional trade within the continent, will be launched in March this year in Kigali, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said in a statement obtained early February in Kigali.
The proposed FTA would be a key component of the African Union’s (AU’s) strategy to boost trade within the region by at least 25-30 percent in the next decade.
The main step toward this new agreement was reached on the sidelines of the recent AU Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after African governments approved the adoption of Protocol on Free Movement of People and the official launch of African air transport market.
‘A continental FTA is expected to be launched at an extraordinary AU Heads of State Summit this March,’ said the top Rwandan diplomat.
The new move comes five years after AU heads of state and government commited to deepen regional integration and boost intra-Africa trade.
FTA will bring together about 53 African nations with a combined population of close to a billion.