Beyond the effects of the pandemic, there is also the continent`s existing trade architecture to overcome. Today`s regional trade agreements “present narrow trading models, depend on primary products and include a low level of trade between countries,” said William Amponsah, a trade expert quoted by the United Nations. In fact, intra-African trade is dominated by a handful of countries that sell a handful of products. While this situation is improving, there remains a problem that a mere increase in intra-African trade would not solve. “We are now the largest free trade area in the world since the creation of the World Trade Organization and we must ensure that this matters,” the president said. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)  is a free trade area that has 28 countries as of 2018.     It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement between 54 of the 55 nations of the African Union.  The free trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the creation of the World Trade Organization.  Accra, Ghana, is the secretariat of the AFCFTA and was mandated in Accra on August 18, 2020 by the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo Addo, in Accra and handed over to the AU. The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) officially inaugurated in Accra, Ghana, an important step in the full implementation of the Free Trade Agreement. Eritrea has not signed due to tensions with Ethiopia, but after the Eritrea-Ethiopia summit in 2018, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry expects Eritrea to sign the agreement.  As of July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea being the only country not to sign it.
Of these Member States, 27 have deposited their instruments of ratification.   He said Africa`s prosperity depends largely on intra-African trade. “Increasing trade is the surest way to deepen regional integration in Africa. Unveiling of the AfCFTA Trade in Goods online portal, where Member States will exchange trade information and upload their tariffs for 90% of tariff headings. Implementation of the AfCFTA, although delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to resume in January 2021, with a first focus on trade facilitation for small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for 90% of the jobs created on the continent. But the world the AfCFTA will look at in January will be very different from the world it was designed in. There are more challenges than ever, notably thanks to the economic destruction caused by the pandemic – “an unprecedented health and economic crisis,” the International Monetary Fund noted, “which threatens to destabilize the region, reverse the development progress of recent years and slow the region`s growth prospects in the coming years.” The largest trading area in the world as far as participating countries are concerned since the creation of the World Trade Organization. The Kigali Summit identified areas of convergence in the areas of trade protocols, dispute settlement procedures, customs cooperation, trade facilitation and rules of origin. This was part of Phase I of the agreement, which includes the liberalisation of goods and services.
An agreement was also reached to reduce tariffs to 90% of all goods. Each nation may exclude 3% of the goods from this Agreement.  Eritrea was not part of the original agreement due to a persistent state of war, but the 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea ended the conflict and ended the barrier to Eritrea`s participation in the free trade agreement.      The unreconed state of Somaliland did not participate in the discussions on the creation of the agreement. . . .