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Central African free-trade zone is established

14 September 2004

In January 2004 the 11 heads of state of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) pledged to establish a free-trade zone by the end of 2007. The aim of this initiative is to create 'a dynamic and attractive regional market of 100 million consumers, which would promote the immense potential of the region’. They also 'pledged to establish a network of roads and an interlocked power grid, as well as provide freedom of movement to government officials, students, religious leaders and business people within the community’. In the agricultural sector the heads of state pledged to 'develop a common agricultural policy by 2008’.

Editorial comment

The time-frame for the establishment of a common market in central Africa appears to be highly ambitious. However, if achieved, it would dovetail closely with the timetable for the implementation of the proposed REPA in central Africa.