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AU aims to double intra-Africa trade by 2021

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The African Union on Friday announced its plan to double the current volume of total intra-Africa trade to 28 percent by 2021 through its flagship Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) pact.Labeling the current trade volume among African countries as “very low”, Muchanga Albert, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, revealed the target and indicated that the continent is presently situated at “the right place and on target” to realize the major targets of AU’s flagship CFTA pact.

The CFTA, which was adopted during the 18th ordinary session of the AU heads of state in January 2012, has planned to foster the continent’s trade in goods and services through its first phase, while the second phase will focus on competition, investment and intellectual property right issues.

“Through the CFTA, we are progressively creating an integrated African market. We are creating one Africa with one market and one voice,” Albert told reporters at a press briefing ahead of the 29th AU summit to be held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa beginning on Monday.

The CFTA brings together 54 African countries with a combined population of more than 1 billion people, and a combined GDP of more than 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars.

African leaders, during the 2015 AU summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, launched the negotiations for the CFTA by targeting 2017 to mark the completion of the first phase of the negotiations.

The CFTA is also accompanied by AU’s action plan on Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT), which identifies seven clusters to augment free trade among AU member states.

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