Cherfilus-McCormick Seeks to Strengthen African Continental Free Trade Area

Cherfilus-McCormick Seeks to Strengthen African Continental Free Trade Area

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
May 7, 2024

US Representative Shelia Cheriflus McCormick (D-FL) has filed a bill to fortify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) created in 2018 by the African Union.

The AfCTA agreement was signed by nearly all African countries and aims to remove trade barriers between African states.

Together, the signatories’ economies amount to US $3.4 trillion in GDP and 1.3 billion people.

AfCTA requires members remove tariffs on at least 97% of tariff lines accounting for 90% of intra-Africa imports.

According to the World Bank, AfCTA could lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.

AfCTA entered into force on May 30, 2019, after 22 African nations ratified it.

Besides lowering tariffs, the agreement also seeks to address barriers for economic integration such as weak and fragmented rules aimed at promoting investment and competition and inadequate institutions such as customs management to facilitate trade.

The World Bank estimates AfCTA could generate $450 billion in potential income gains alone.

Representative McCormick has been closely following developments in Africa and has sought to nurture US-Africa relations.

McCormick initially expressed her support for AfCTA in an interview last February.

McCormick claimed the US “should have a more robust and mutually beneficial agenda toward Africa,” which includes “the acceleration of implementation of AfCTA, and deeper bilateral trade ties.”

Looking forward, McCormick stated the US should “respond to the African people's aspirations by protecting their basic rights, providing humanitarian assistance when it is needed, and creating an enabling environment for people to prosper.”

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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