Ivory Coast to ratify continental free trade

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The Lower Chamber of Parliament of Ivory Coast has adopted a law authorising the government to ratify the African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ) agreement.

According to Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Trade, Industry and Promotion of SMEs, “the African Free Trade Zone offers a mine of opportunities to our companies. It will also contribute to an increase in the turnover of our industrials. This will let them increase their capacity in terms of transformation and by extension, job creation in Côte d’Ivoire”.

He added: “Our country has always had an economy open to the outside on a sub-regional as well as international level. Our figures in terms of intra-African trade which is around 34%, while it is 25% for the ECOWAS, is eloquent enough.”

The Minister explained that Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, had the capacity to export its manufactured products beyond the ECOWAS.

Adopted on March 21, 2018 during the special summit of the African Union in Kigali, the AFTZ is aimed at creating a unique market in Africa with more than 1.2 billion consumers (which will rise to 2.5 billion by 2050 according to forecasts) by notably suppressing customs duty for 90% of the goods exchanged within the continent.

Forty-four countries had ratified the agreement relative to the creation of that zone. A figure that rose to 49 during the last summit of the African Union in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

In July 2018, eight countries submitted their instruments of ratification while 22 ratifications were needed for the enactment of this agreement.

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