ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Monday said that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is one of Africa's milestone trade policy that would serve as an imputes towards transforming Africa's future development.
"The AfCFTA is one of the milestone trade policy developments in Africa which is expected to change the way Africa does trade and catalyze transformation in a way trade policy has not done before," the ECA said in a statement on Monday.
Noting the vital significance of continental free trade agreement, ECA also urged its member countries to commit themselves through the inclusion of the major pillars of the agreement in their national policies, which the ECA stressed as "crucial for the successful implementation" of the AfCFTA.
"Africa is set for massive transformation as more countries are expected to sign-up and ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in 2019," ECA's statement quoted David Luke, African Trade Policy Center Coordinator at the ECA as saying.
Luke, who recently led an ECA delegation to the Intra-African Trade Fair that was held in Cairo, Egypt, said "intra-African trade, free trade and investments catalyzed by the AfCFTA will without doubt transform the African continent."
"Getting the AfCFTA right will depend on getting the level of ambition that we have as a continent," he added.
Last week, an official at the African Union (AU) told Xinhua that encouraging progress has been gained in the implementation of the AfCFTA.
As the regional body drives efforts toward realizing the AfCFTA, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert M. Muchanga told Xinhua that major efforts are underway to achieve an integrated African market of about 1.2 billion people.
A total of 49 of the AU's 55 member states have so far signed the AfCFTA agreement, and 13 countries have ratified it, while 12 others are in advanced stages of obtaining parliamentary approval for ratification, according to the AU.
A minimum of 22 ratifications are required for the AfCFTA to come into force.