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Container Yard

AfCFTA Guide

E-Commerce & Digital Trade

Several areas of the AfCFTA are still being worked on, especially those related to digital trade. The African Union's Agenda 2063 highlights the importance of developing digital economies to enhance continental integration and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. Similarly, its Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030) mentions that integrating Africa into a single digital market will create economies of scale and opportunities to grow Africa's economies, with the ability to adapt to digital trade and financial services as the key to unlocking these opportunities. The AfCFTA Protocol on E-commerce is being negotiated in this context, while no public information on the Protocol's content is accessible yet. It is worth mentioning that comparable efforts to promote digital trade exist in African regional economic groupings.

In February 2020, an official decision was made to include e-commerce in a third phase of negotiations, to be known as the Protocol on Digital Trade. This protocol was subsequently moved into the current Phase II negotiations. This framework attempts to improve connections between African countries, encourage e-commerce, and expedite customs procedures.  Negotiations towards this protocol are widely expected to be concluded in 2023. The AfCFTA Protocol on Digital Trade could serve as a foundation for domestic and regional policy convergence. Numerous best practices in global bilateral agreements are being used. A comprehensive agreement with legally binding and enforceable measures might significantly improve continental integration in general and the digital economy in particular. 

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