Facilitating the growth of intracontinental trade in Africa

Project description

Title: Support to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Cofinanced by​​​​​​​: European Union (EU)
Country: Member States of the African Union ​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission (AUC)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2020 to 2024



Intra-African trade accounted for about 15 per cent of the total African trade volume in 2019. In contrast, intracontinental trade accounts for 51 per cent of exports in North America, while it is 49 per cent in Asia, and 22 per cent in Latin America. The figure even reaches 69 per cent for intracontinental trade in Western Europe. Although some Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have made improvements in trade integration, the African market remains fragmented.

In order to strengthen regional integration, the African Union (AU) Trade Ministers agreed to establish an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 54 of the 55 Member States have signed the agreement. By October 2022, the agreement had been ratified by 44 countries. Germany has supported the process since the commencement of negotiations in 2015.


The Framework for the implementation of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is strengthened.

Cargo ship on the sea. Copyright: Shutterstock


The project works at three main levels:

  • Continental: GIZ supports the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU Commission in the areas of AfCFTA negotiations and implementation by secondment of experts to prepare negotiations and offer technical support on specific negotiation topics and to advise on strategic policy and advocacy issues.
  • Regional: GIZ supports ECOWAS, EAC and SADC in the areas of trade in services, trade in goods, investment, competition, digital trade and women & youth.
  • Country: GIZ works in eight focus countries – these being Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, Tunisia, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Democratic Republic of the Congo – supporting government, private sector and civil society actors to develop the required capabilities on the ground.

In a multilateral approach, key activities are implemented together with strategic partners, like UNECA; UNCTAD, ITC SheTrades, TRALAC and CCSI.

Last update: October 2022
















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