FIATA Supports Africa’s Continent Wide Trade Agreement Signed in Kigali

Zurich, 12 April 2018:  After eight rounds of negotiations, beginning in 2015, African heads of 44 states and government officials met in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21st, 2018 to sign the framework to establish the agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). A milestone that is fully supported by FIATA and its regional body Africa Middle East-RAME.

“This is a great step forward for the African continent which will create a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union. Our members stand ready to do their part in contributing to dialogue with local States during the ratification & implementation process of the AfCFTA” Babar Badat, FIATA President.

The AfCFTA will come into effect 30 days after ratification by the parliaments of at least 22 countries. Each country has 120 days after signing the framework to ratify. This will be one of the world’s largest free-trade areas in terms of the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people and over $4 trillion in combined consumer and business spending if all 54 countries join. It will also help expand intra-Africa trade which currently sits at 18%. The AfCFTA will become an enabler for “Made in Africa” goods stimulating investment in innovation and manufacturing, increasing intra-African trade to 52 percent by the year 2022 and remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods. 

RAME represents a network in Africa consisting of 20 national associations representing the interest of over 1200 members. We have consistently advocated, for continent wide harmonised facilitation to allow friendlier, faster and prompter processing of goods through the borders of all African countries.

FIATA also emphasises the critical role regional bodies such as COMESA, with whom FIATA signed an MoU last year, must play to encourage neighbouring member states to ratify the agreement ensuring speedy transition to implementation.

African leaders have agreed to have the AfCFTA come into effect within 18 months. For this to occur, at least 22 countries must ratify the agreement formally. The final critical steps for the African Union will be to persuade the remaining countries to join, to create a secretariat to coordinate the implementation and to provide enough resources to ensure the AfCFTA’s success.


Media Contact:

Hans Gunther Kersten, Director General

Email: kersten(at)



FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, was founded in Vienna, Austria on May 31st 1926.  It is a non-governmental organisation that today represents an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing around 10 million people in some 160 countries. FIATA has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (inter alia ECE, ESCAP, ESCWA, etc.), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) as well as many other UN related bodies, e.g. the World Bank. It is recognised as representing the freight forwarding industry by many other governmental organisations, governmental authorities, private international organisations in the field of transport and logistics, such as the European Commission (through CLECAT), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), etc.

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Glattbrugg, 12 April 2018


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