Ethiopia passes Continental Free Trade Deal

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Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers on Saturday approved the country’s membership to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which aims to create the largest common market in the world.

Over 40 African countries signed a historic trade agreement in March 2018, looking to enable free cross-border trade on the continent.

The AfCFTA agreement is expected to create a market for over a billion people, with a GDP of approximately US$2.6 trillion.

The decision to establish the AfCFTA was initially arrived at in the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2012, with a tentative launch date of 2017.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office announced the approval of the country’s membership to the AfCFTA, saying the common market would enhance regional integration.

“The decision is consistent with PM Abiy’s vision of creating a closer & full regional integration —where minds are open to ideas & mkts are open to trade. Ethiopia’s decision & track record of advocating Pan African causes will bring to reality an integrated Africa,” The PM’s office said.