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The Moroccan parliament examines a bill on joining the African Free Trade Agreement Area

The Moroccan parliament will examine, Wednesday, a bill on joining the African Continental Free Trade Area. As in January 2017 with the Constitutive Act of the African Union, having «SADR» among the parties that signed AfCFTA shouldn’t be a stumbling block.

A meeting during which African Union countries signed the African Continental Trade Agreement in March 2018 in Rwanda. / Ph. DR
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On July 7 and 8, Niger will host an African Union extraordinary summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a free trade area outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The event will also host the first meeting of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), a group of African countries that want to achieve economic integration in the continent. RECs’ meeting was planned during the last ordinary session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held February in Addis Ababa.

Morocco, as a member of the African Union, is preparing for the meeting described as a «historic milestone» by the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Albert Muchanga. «We celebrate the triumph of bold, pragmatic and continent-wide commitment to economic integration. We launch market on 7 July, 2019 and begin the journey of transformation to secure inclusive prosperity», the Zambian national added.

Rabat is making sure not to miss out on the African free trade area, which would provide the Kingdom with several economic advantages. Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani signed on March 21, 2018 in Kigali, the trade agreement but Morocco has not been ratified yet.

«SADR» and signing the African trade agreement

In the Kingdom, the process of adopting the agreement is underway. The bill, adopted by the government on February 21 and approved by the Council of Ministers on June 4, will be examined, Wednesday, by members of the committees of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Islamic Affairs and Moroccans Living Abroad in the parliament. The bill has already been approved by the two houses of the parliament. «Having 'SADR' among the parties that signed AfCFTA shouldn’t be a stumbling block for Moroccan MPs», a source close to the file told Yabiladi.

On February 22, the Minister of Relations with the Parliament Mustapha El Khalfi told media that «signing AfCFTA by Morocco shouldn’t be interpreted as an acknowledgment of the situation of an entity that is not recognized by the Kingdom», referring to «SADR», which signed the agreement in March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Indeed, the mere presence of representatives from the Polisario during continental meetings have provoked Morocco several times in the past.

However, Morocco is trying recently to reinforce its presence within the continental organization. In January 2017, the presence of «SADR» within the AU did not prevent the government from adopting the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

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