AfCFTA: AfroChampions ranks African Governments’ Commitment and Readiness

Despite the big noise surrounding the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, no country is 100% ready and some are lagging even more, surprisingly below 50%. In a recent report, the AfroChampions initiative has in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants created a list of African countries according to their commitment and readiness for AfCFTA.

The ranking was prepared before coronavirus hit the world and AfroChampions fears that the new context would be a new headwind against the launch of the single market. “The continent should press ahead and use AfCFTA as one of the weapons to beat COVID-19 and speed up post-COVID economic recovery,” the platform suggests.

The report ranks all countries on the continent including those that are yet to ratify the deal. The ranking was based on four key indicators and ten sub-indicators. First is the commitment to the free trade agreement/treaty, through the signing and ratification of the AfCFTA agreement, and the implementation of a national strategy accessible to the public. Following is the commitment to free movement (signing and ratification of the protocol on the free movement of people and countries’ visa openness). The third indicator concerns the trade facilitation readiness (sub-indicator: quality of trade-infrastructure and efficiency of customs). And the last is access to credit (ease of getting credit and cost of credit).

The average score on the continent is 44.48% for countries’ commitment to AfCFTA and 49.15% for their overall level of implementation readiness. The report also notes that despite its launch in July 2019, virtually all countries are lagging in completing national AfCFTA implementation strategies. Under the deal terms, countries should have finalized technical preparations to waive tariffs on goods traded under the free trade zone by July 1, 2020. By January 2020, the agreement to establish the zone had been ratified by 30 countries.

Rwanda is the most committed and best-prepared country on the continent with an overall score of 74.26%. The top 10 of this ranking is dominated by East and West African countries. Three other East African countries are in the top 10, namely: Kenya (2nd), Uganda (5th) and Djibouti (9th). Five West African countries are also in the top 10. They are Togo (3rd), Côte d'Ivoire (4th), Ghana (6th), Senegal (7th), and Niger (10th). Not a single country in Southern or Northern Africa is in the top ten.

None of the continent's three largest economies - South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria - are among the top ten overall performers in this ranking. The black sheep are Angola (46th), Libya (49th), and Burundi (50th). They have neither ratified the AfCFTA deal nor the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. 

Source: Ecofin Agency