By Melodie Mukansonera
AfroChampions – a private sector partner of the AU – has released a report showing African countries that are ready to trade under the framework of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Among those, Rwanda merged the best committed and prepared to trade.
The report dubbed “AfCFTA Year Zero Report” indicates that Rwanda is the most AfCFTA committed country scoring 83.93% on the commitment scale; the least committed country is Eritrea with a score of 0.85%, according to AfroChampions.
The overall average commitment level of the continent to AfCFTA is at 44.48%; its overall implementation readiness level is at 49.15%.
Among the region countries, Uganda emerged as the fourth most committed country behind Rwanda Mali and Togo. The report also points out that Uganda is not prepared to trade due to “poor or lack of trade infrastructure, customs efficiency and access to credit for industry.”
Conversely, some of the least committed countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania performed very strongly in terms of implementation readiness.
“When we combined commitment and readiness assessments, Rwanda came top of the ranking of the 55 states.” Michael Kottoh, head of strategy and research at Afrochampions, told the media while reacting to the report.
Regarding what should be done given low readiness and COVID-19 pandemic, the authors underscore that “low readiness is not a good reason to delay Start of Trade” on July 1, 2020 as set.
However, one of the crosscutting challenges as highlighted in the report, is that, “not a single country has completed a National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy” despite trading starting on July 01, 2020.
The AfCFTA was signed in 2018 with a plan to create the world’s largest free trade zone, came into force on May 30, 2019 while implementation is set for July 1.