South African President and African Union (AU) chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa called on the continent’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to prepare to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement effective from Jan. 1, 2021.
Ramaphosa made the remarks in his closing address on Thursday at the second AU mid-year coordinating meeting, expressing satisfaction with the progress made to achieve the continent’s Agenda 2063, Africa’s development blueprint, which gave birth to the AfCFTA idea.
“With the finish line now in sight, we must make this final push and ensure all outstanding issues on Phases 1 and 2 are finalized in order for us to start trading by Jan. 1, 2021,” he said.
“It is imperative that we strengthen the RECs as building blocks for Africa’s continental integration,” said the chairperson, commending all the regional economic blocks for prioritizing the AfCFTA.
“Intensified coordination and harmonization will bring us closer to the realization of the African Economic Community in line with the principles of the Abuja Treaty,” he said.
The RECs present at the meeting include the Southern African Development Community, the East African Community and the Economic Community of West African States