With the July date for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now highly uncertain, a survey on individual country preparedness shows that commitment and readiness is below 50 per cent.
According to The AfCFTA Year Zero report published this month by AfroChampions, the average level of commitment is 44.48 per cent and implementation readiness is 49.15 per cent.
Afrochampions was commissioned by the AfCFTA secretariat to do the assessment early this year and was completed before the Covid-19 struck.
More than half the countries are yet to ratify the AfCFTA, despite the impressive signings and speedy number of ratifications that launched the agreement.
Almost all countries are lagging behind in the completion of National AfCFTA Implementation Strategies Trading, which was scheduled to start this July.
EAST AND WEST LEADING
The report also ranks East and West African countries as most committed in the operationalisation of the AfCFTA, with Rwanda ranked the most committed at 83.93 per cent, and Eritrea the least, scoring 0.85 per cent.
Other East African countries ranked in the top 10 are Uganda (fourth), Kenya (seventh) and Djibouti (ninth). The other five slots are taken by the West African countries of Mali (second), Togo (third), Ghana (fifth), Niger (sixth) and Senegal (eighth).
Fifty-five African countries (including those that are yet to ratify the agreement) were rated and ranked based on four main indicators and 10 sub-indicators.
The indicators used were county's commitment to AfCFTA, which include signing and ratification of the agreement and a publicly accessible national implementation strategy; signing and ratification of the protocol on free movement of people and the country's visa openness; trade facilitation readiness considering quality of trade-infrastructure and efficiency of Customs; and the country's capability in the access to credit.