Maryla Maliszewska , lead author, is a senior economist in Trade and Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI) at the World Bank. His area of expertise covers various aspects of trade policy and regional integration, with particular emphasis on the impact of trade on poverty and income distribution. He added that Africa must respond to the current challenges of the multilateral trading system by “consolidating and advancing our objectives of integration of the continental market by AfCFTA. One of the great advantages for the AfCFTA region will be the removal of trade barriers between Kenya and Ethiopia, the two largest economies in East Africa. Despite previous efforts to deepen economic relations, the volume of bilateral trade between the two remains extremely low. Bilateral trade did not reach $70 million in 2019, representing only 0.5% of Ethiopia`s total exports and 0.09% of Kenya`s exports, mainly consisting of food, live animals and certain industrial products (Table 1). Maria Filipa Seara e Pereira advises the World Bank in the Trade Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI). It focuses on international trade and international development issues, including modelling, trade policy, trade distribution effects and global value chains. Paul Brenton is a leading economist in the World Bank`s Trade and Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI).
It focuses on analytical and operational work in the area of trade and regional integration. The agreement was negotiated by the African Union (AU) and signed on 21 March 2018 by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda.   The agreement first requires members to remove tariffs on 90% of goods, allowing free access to goods, goods and services across the continent.  The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.  The proposal is expected to enter into force 30 days after ratification by 22 of the signatory states.  On 2 April 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd state to ratify the Convention and on 29 April, the Sahrawi Republic tabled the 22nd filing of ratification instruments; The agreement entered into force on 30 May and entered its operational phase following a summit on 7 July 2019.  Sign up to receive free email notifications when new serial articles and/or countries are published on the IMF website. In March 2018, three separate agreements were signed at the 10th African Union extraordinary meeting on AfCFTA: the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the Kigali Declaration; and the protocol on the free movement of people. The Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons aims to create a visa-free zone within AfCFTA countries and to support the creation of the African Union passport.  At the Kigali Summit on 21 March 2018, 44 countries signed the AfCFTA, 47 signed the Kigali Declaration and 30 signed the protocol on the free movement of persons. Although a success, there were two remarkable holdouts: Nigeria and South Africa, the two largest economies in Africa.    What further complicates matters is that Africa was already divided into eight separate free trade zones and/or customs unions, with different regulations.
[Note 1] These regional bodies will continue to exist; The African Continental Free Trade Agreement aims firstly to remove barriers to trade between the various pillars of the African Economic Community and, finally, to use these regional organizations as building blocks of the ultimate goal of an African-wide customs union.     Given that the Nigerian authorities continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping.  At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was “regrettable” and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries,