The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), during the 2020 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, elected Mr Wamkele Mene as its Secretary-General.
Prior to this election, he served as South Africa’s Chief Negotiator in the AfCFTA negotiations, and also negotiated on behalf of South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He holds an LL.M in Banking Law and Financial Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds an M.A. in International Studies & Diplomacy from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, alongside a B.A. Law from Rhodes University.
The AfCFTA is a free trade area which as of 2018 includes 28 countries. It is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries.
The agreement mandates members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, therefore allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, by 2022, the agreement will thus boost intra-African trade by 52%.
The agreement went into force on 30th May 2019, after ratification by 22 of the signatory states. It entered its operational phase in July 7, 2019.