African Free Trade Launch Postponed Due To COVID19
The implementation of the African free trade will be postponed to a further date due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, a senior official said on Tuesday.
“It is not possible to commence trade as we had intended on 1 July under the current circumstances,” Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, said during a conference call.
According to Mene’s statement, it is not clear whether there is a set date yet as he left the conference call before clarifying in the question and answer section.
African Free Trade is composed of 55 nations and set to create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc incorporating Africa’s population and will be the largest trading block after the World Trade Organization formed in 1994.
“The political commitment remains, the political will remains to integrate Africa’s market and to implement the agreement as was intended,” he said.
The United and Europe are working on a stimulus package set to help the countries recover from the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Africa’s Free Trade will perform the same purpose if it succeeds in operations. However, Mene states that the African governments do lack the firepower such package as Europe.
“That’s our stimulus package. That’s how we’re going to get back on track as Africa.” he added.