NAIROBI, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Eastern African nations are anticipated to earn 184 billion shillings (about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars) in welfare gains from the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says a United Nations report released on Thursday.
According to the report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the continental free trade could boost eastern African trade by between 737 million dollars and 1.1 billion dollars and in the process creating more than two million new jobs.
Currently, 54 out of the 55 African Union member states have signed the AfCFTA, which is expected to become operational from July 2020.
The findings indicate that the sector expected to benefit greatly from the pan African trade pact is manufacturing, as regional firms increase their capacity to satisfy the larger market.
The review estimates that with eastern African firms exporting more, the region will earn more on the strength of higher exports of processed food, textiles, clothing and light manufacturing.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for 80 percent of the region's businesses but struggle to penetrate foreign markets, are expected to get a major boost by the new trade deal as regional value chains emerge," says the UNECA report.