The CFTA represents the cornerstone of the AU's 2063 Agenda which aims to politically and economically unify the continent. It is hoped to come into force within the next six months and will remove barriers to trade, correcting one of the strange quirks of African trade policy whereby exporters face higher tariffs when exporting within Africa compared with exporting outside the continent.

The creation of CFTA could prove a game-changer, transforming the wellbeing of people, communities and nations across the region. For this to happen, it is essential that the agreement be ratified by all African nations. By boosting trade, growth and employment, it could provide a decisive pathway from poverty for the continent's 1.2 billion people.

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