Although the largest trade block, African Continental Free Trade Area, was officially operationalized on January 1, 2021, only Ghana has started tariff free shipments to south Africa and Guinea, so far.
“surely other countries will start trading, as soon as the covid19 pandemic restrictions are lifted,” Brian Mureverwi, trade advisor at Department of Trade and Industry at African Union, told EBR.
However, Ethiopia is among African states that did not offer the types of goods and services it wishes to trade under tariff free, though it is among the 34 countries who ratified the agreement. Countries are expected to liberalize 90pct of the 5,708 items, to start trading.
“technically we have analyzed which items we will liberalize now and which will be held as sensitive sectors, which will be liberalized in the course of the next 13 years. However, we are waiting for Ministry of Finance to approve the items. The ministry is reconsidering the offers, in terms of customs revenue loss, and competitive edge,” Muse Mindaye, Director of Trade Relations and Negotiation at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, and member of the national negotiator team, told EBR.