Karingi also said that the postponement of trade under the new rules “provides a window of opportunity to rethink the agreement to reflect the new realities and risks of the 21st century, which is necessary to position the African economy in the face of future negative shocks due, among other things, to the new virus and climate change.” As an immediate measure, countries need to change their AfCFTA implementation plans to incorporate smart and innovative pathways that adopt the new standard. It will take a lot of effort, but the heads of state and government should move afCFTA forward and focus on technologically advanced means to maximize the benefits that can flow from it. This will send a strong signal to the rest of the world that African leaders have missed out, have signed only treaties and protocols that they do not want to respect. He said Africa`s prosperity depends largely on intra-African trade. “Increased trade is the safest way to deepen regional integration in Africa. Africa`s new free trade agreement is part of its plan for prosperity and unity. But the stumbling blocks in the form of border and trade disputes reveal a continent without borders for decades. In addition, border closures have returned, reminding Africans of their threat to economic growth. The inclusion of AfCFTA, even in the face of the pandemic, would send clear signals to skeptics that Africa could gradually turn away from the institutional failures that often stifle its trade agreements and protocols. AfCFTA, touted by many as a secular agreement and the largest free trade agreement of all time, if successfully implemented, will change the face of intra-African trade from only 15% to $25 billion to $50 billion by 2040 and generate a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNCA).
He called on Member States that have not yet committed to full membership to present their timetables for specific service delivery commitments, in accordance with agreed terms. Trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was due to start on 1 July, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, an official said. “States have realized that they need AfCFTA more than ever,” Sebahizi said. He mentioned countries that do not have direct access to the sea and were virtually cut off from world trade during the coronavirus blockade in the first half of the year due to border closures. Sebahizi believes the situation will create “the spirit of greater cooperation.”