The African Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could be a landmark achievement for economies of African states, the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui, said on Wednesday.
Chergui, who made this known in an interview with Sputnik on the sidelines of the ongoing Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, said that the proposed introduction of a new currency in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) might help further integrate economies across the continent.
“This may be a lifetime achievement for our continent. The launching of the AfCFTA will totally change the way we have been doing business.
“And it will boost businesses and trade between African countries in very important dimensions,” he said.
As of July this year, the AfCTFA had been signed by 54 African states and it has already gone into force in 28 countries.
Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, was among the last to sign and has yet to ratify the agreement.
Once a wide array of agreements and protocols has been agreed, the trade union which already includes South Africa and Egypt may become a formidable force and hold significant sway in the global economy.
Chergui singled out for praise the effective integration policies of the ECOWAS which the diplomat believes has the potential to transform economic dynamics across the continent.
The economic union of 15 West African countries plans to introduce a common currency, the Eco, to integrate their economies and overcome the English-French post-colonial divide.
“If you consider the bold decisions taken by ECOWAS to adopt a single currency you can imagine it as a multiplier of such decisions on the integration of the continent, on the economy and on our trade,” he said.
He added that such developments might stem the flow of migrants through the Mediterranean Sea.
The Russia-Africa summit and business forum, co-chaired by the presidents of Russia and Egypt, began on Wednesday with more than 40 African countries expected to be represented by their heads of state or government, while 11 others sent their vice presidents, foreign ministers, or ambassadors.
The Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency is an official media partner of the event.