Lots of people on a market square.

Facilitating the growth of intracontinental trade in Africa

Pan-Afrikanische Freihandelszone (CFTA) – GIZ-Modul – Phase II

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Cofinancier

    European Union (EU)

  • Country

    African Union (AU), selected AU Member States, and Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2020 to 2024

  • Products and expertise

    Economic Development and Employment


Intra-African trade accounted for about 17 per cent of the total African trade volume in 2022. In contrast, intracontinental trade accounts for 51 per cent of exports in North America, 49 per cent in Asia and 22 per cent in Latin America. It is even as high as 69 per cent in Western Europe. The African market remains fragmented despite integration improvements by some Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

The African Union (AU) Trade Ministers agreed to establish an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost regional integration. The agreement on the AfCFTA had been signed by 54 of the 55 Member States and had been ratified by 47 countries by August 2023. Germany has supported the process since the commencement of negotiations in 2015. To emphasise its importance, the AU decided the “Acceleration of AfCFTA implementation” as its theme of the year for 2023.


The project is creating and consolidating the framework conditions for implementing the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

A woman stands at a market stall and smiles as she holds a bottle of pumpkin seed oil up to the camera.


The project supports the following actors and organisations continentally, regionally, and nationally by:

deploying experts to promote implementation and prepare negotiations, offer technical support and give advice on strategic policy and advocacy issues to the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU Commission.

providing assistance to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the areas of trade in services, trade in goods, investment, competition, digital trade, intellectual property rights (IPR) and women and youth.

supporting government, private sector and civil society actors in ten focus countries so that they can develop the required capabilities on the ground.

Key activities are implemented with strategic partners using a multilateral approach. These include, among others, the SheTrades Initiative of the International Trade Center (ITC), which seeks to embed a gender-sensitive approach in the negotiation process, as well as joint efforts with the United Nations Economic Commission (UNECA) and the Trade Law Centre (TRALAC) to raise awareness and disseminate information.

Last update: January 2024

A group of men carry a large bag of cotton.

Additional information