Eventual implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFT ) agreement is expected to provide a boost to Egypt's garment industry - but logistics and government red tape will pose a major challenge, industry executives told just-style, the online news, insight and research portal for the apparel and textile industry.
Signed last March by 44 members of the African Union, the treaty is ultimately designed to remove trade barriers between 55 African nations with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US$3.4 trillion, just-style reported.
Included within 44 signatories are key garment producing countries Kenya, Morocco, Madagascar, Mauritius, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, Lesotho and Tunisia.
To date, 18 African countries have ratified the AfCFTA - also known by the four-letter acronym CFTA - out of the 22 needed for the agreement to come into force. Once implemented, it will require member nations to eliminate tariffs from 90% of goods traded between them, including clothing, within five years. A special dispensation has also been tabled for seven LDCs (least developed countries) – including Ethiopia and Madagascar – giving them a 15-year period to reach 90% of tariffs.
Overall, the agreement should boost intra-African imports and exports, which currently account for just 15% of all trade on the continent.