As of July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea being the only country not to sign the agreement. Of these Member States, 27 have deposited their instruments of ratification.   The African Union and its Member States. The AfCFTA complements existing regional trade agreements in Africa A third question is how to conduct future trade negotiations with third parties. Faced with the consequences of a possible exit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2025, Kenya has already begun negotiations to establish a free trade agreement with the United States. The United Kingdom is working to conclude new trade agreements after its withdrawal from the European Union and is also approaching a number of countries in the region. The Kenya-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was particularly controversial, but perhaps too controversial: in principle, nothing prevents suspected East African countries from negotiating with third parties. However, for the above reasons concerning rules of origin, it is preferable to avoid totally different approaches in negotiations with third parties. Maria Filipa Seara e Pereira advises the Trade Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI) of the World Bank. She works mainly on topics related to international trade and international development, including modelling, trade policy, the distribution effects of trade and global value chains. The AfCFTA is a framework agreement covering trade in goods and services, including the following protocols: trade in goods, trade in services, intellectual property rights, competition policy, investment and dispute settlement.
The 12th. Extraordinary meeting of the African Union on the AfCFTA was convened to bring the new agreement into its operational phase, which was held in Niamey on 7 July 2019.   These agreements, especially those that are free trade areas or customs unions, have their own deeper integration agendas that they will continue to follow. Intra-African trade continues on several tracks. As the AfCFTA progresses and consolidates, there is a need to strengthen policy convergence and simplify the rules. Ghana`s Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen listed the benefits of a free trade area in Africa, including increasing intra-African trade to 52% by 2022, consolidating currently fragmented markets, economies of scale, adding value of Africa`s natural resources and economic diversification. Guillermo Arenas is an economist at the World Bank`s Trade and Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI). It covers several aspects of international economics and public policy, including trade policy, export competitiveness and impact assessment. The following figure shows the structure of the agreement creating the AfCFTA.
The different protocols are negotiated in two phases (see figure below). Phase 1 focused on three protocols: trade in goods with its 9 annexes, trade in services with its 3 annexes and dispute settlement. Phase 2 negotiations will focus on protocols on competition, intellectual property rights and investment. Beyond the effects of the pandemic, there is also the continent`s existing trade architecture to overcome. Today`s regional trade agreements ”present narrow trading models, depend on primary products and include a low level of trade between countries,” said William Amponsah, a trade expert quoted by the United Nations. In fact, intra-African trade is dominated by a handful of countries that sell a handful of products. While this situation is improving, there remains a problem that a mere increase in intra-African trade would not solve. The AfCFTA is the most ambitious integration initiative on the African continent, integrated into the African Union`s Agenda 2063, whose main objective is to create a continental single market for goods and services with free movement of people and investment, which will increase intra-African trade across the continent, improve competitiveness and support economic transformation in Africa. . .