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AfCFTA National Implementation Committees: scoping options and support mechanisms

Research reports

Written by Prudence Sebahizi, Million Habte, Halima Noor, Yafika Chitanda, José Luis Tavares Semedo, Dirk Willem te Velde, Derrick Abudu, Prachi Agarwal, Maximiliano Mendez-Parra

Research reports

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to transform African economies and increase intraregional trade and inward investment. There is much progress on negotiations but the ultimate benefits depend on the way AfCFTA commitments are implemented. National AfCFTA Implementation Committees (NICs) can help in this endeavour.

In line with the Decision of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU Assembly), held on 1–2 July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Member States are required to set up NICs to facilitate implementation of the Agreement. This report discusses the role of National Implementation Committees (NICs) in implementing the AfCFTA Agreement, and the paramount role the AfCFTA Secretariat has in supporting these activities.

In response to requests from AfCFTA State Parties, this paper identifies appropriate institutional forms for NICs as well as 10 core functions in being effective implementation agencies. It then outlines a five-step AfCFTA template for effective NIC formation and operation. Further, it suggests possible options for the Secretariat to support implementation of the AfCFTA through NICs, a key task given that the AU theme of the Year 2023 is “Acceleration of the AfCFTA Implementation”.

In order to identify appropriate functions and forms of NICs, this paper reviews the experiences of established NICs in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda. The review shows that it is important to distinguish between their forms (which vary depending on context) and their functions (common areas of focus and conduct).

Find out more by downloading the report below, or reading the short AfCFTA National Implementation Committee policy brief, which includes detailed analysis.

For more information on our AfCFTA work, visit our programme page: Supporting Investment and Trade in Africa.