At a time when the SADC region is finalising modalities on the tripartite free trade area, the African Union is working on the continental free trade agreement that is set to be signed in December this year.

The continental free trade area (CFTA) that has been embraced by the entire 55 member states of the African Union has proposed that 90 percent of tradable products will be duty free a development that will overshadow the 60 to 85 percent that the tripartite free trade area is gunning for at this high level gathering.

This was confirmed by the African Union Commission official, Mr Willie Shumba who is the senior expert and advisor customs in the continental free trade area unit which is a department of trade and industry, who said the ultimate goal is the establishment of the African economic community and a CFTA.

He said Africa’s integration is vital to the implementation of agenda 2063 adding that negotiations will be member state driven where groupings and taskforces are not going to be a part of the continental negotiations.

Mr Shumba however stated that it is at the individual country’s discretion to have representation of the private sector at a consultative stage including the choice of members of delegations.

The proposed African economic community is set to propel the continent to a higher level of economic growth and development creating a huge market base of over 600 million people.