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AfCFTA: Africa inches closer to target goal on rules of origin   

By Xolisa Phillip, in Durban
Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 2021 13:11

Africa Fruit
People shop for fruits at Sidi Bahri market in Tunis, Tunisia August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Jihed Abidellaoui

African countries have agreed on rules of origin for 88% of products, according to South African trade, industry, and competition minister Ebrahim Patel.  

“I’ve just come from Ghana, where four weeks ago we agreed on rules of origin for cheese, fruit juices and edible oils. We now have agreement on just over 88% of products. Our immediate target is 90%,” says Patel.

By February next year, the continent’s trade ministers will place a package before their heads of states, seeking support, endorsement, and approval on rules of origin. “Once they’ve approved that, we can start trading. That’s where we are,” says Patel.

Although the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement came into force on 1 January 2021, “we’ve not practically started what you can call ‘real’ trade under the AfCFTA”, the South African trade minister says.