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Kagame hails progress in fast-tracking African Free Trade Area

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Wednesday said current reforms across Africa in fast-tracking implementation of African Free Trade Area (AfCTA) is a result of Africa coming together.Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the Rwandan leader said he was optimistic about current progress in the ratification of the AfCTA by African countries.

Estimates by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) show the agreement’s implementation could increase intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022, compared with trade levels in 2010.

The agreement is set to be signed by all 55 member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion.

The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.

Commenting on current efforts, the Rwandan leader stressed that the conditions have never been so favourable for Africa to take the lead in shaping its own global agenda.

“For too long, we ceded responsibility for Africa’s agenda to others, with some individuals even benefitting,” he told the gathering at WEF in Davos.

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