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. 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.    Hartzenberg expects some of the 11 Holdout countries to sign the agreement at the next AU summit in June 2018. It advises countries to “subscribe to rules-based governance. They must implement their commitments consistently and, if they do not, there should be consequences for those countries.
This means that dispute resolution is an essential part of a rules-based AfCFTA. So far, it is true that only five East African countries have submitted their afCFTA ratification. However, what matters is not the number of countries, but the fact that a regional bloc of contiguous countries, representing about three-quarters of regional GDP, is growing. From 1 January 2021, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda will all begin with a reduction in their tariffs – starting with a linear reduction to 90% of tariffs – which will result in the abolition of tariffs on intra-regional imports over a five-year period (10 years for countries considered by the United Nations as the “least developed countries”); By the standards of regional trade agreements, this pace of liberalization will be quite rapid. It argues that a free trade agreement could help “diversify Africa`s exports, reducing the volatility of African economies and leading to more sustainable economic growth.” In other words, the agreement could reduce Africa`s dependence on extractive raw materials such as oil and minerals, whose prices often fluctuate on the international market. The perimeter of the AfCFTA is important. The agreement will reduce tariffs between Member States and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regulatory measures such as hygiene standards and technical barriers to trade. Full implementation of AfCFTA would transform markets and economies across the region and boost production in the services, manufacturing and raw materials sectors. The strongest safeguards are “trade remedies,” including a measure allowing countries to apply anti-dumping duties on imports below their fair value, to offset the impact of duties on imports subject to unjustified subsidies. Intra-African trade is currently only 16%, compared to 19% in Latin America, 51% in Asia, 54% in North America and 70% in Europe. Yulia Vnukova advises the World Bank in the Department of Trade and Regional Integration (ETIRI). Based on more than a decade of experience, Yulia`s current work focuses on trade policy and regional integration, focusing on macroeconomic and microeconomic analyses of trade, trade and sectoral competitiveness, global value chains and private sector development in emerging countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.