Now this might be disappointing, given the exuberant media coverage saying we have implemented the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Fifty-four of the 55 African Union members have signed the agreement and, at last count, 34 have deposited their instruments of ratification. Although Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel has “called on South African farmers and manufacturers to gear up for the new opportunities in export markets”, it is by no means clear which markets he had in mind when he made this statement. In fact, we are not sure if Egypt and São Tomé have even implemented duty preferences into their countries and, if so, on which tariff codes these preferences exist. This matters because taking advantage of the trade agreement requires clarity on where those preferences exist. Read More.