UN hails Africa free trade area as ‘bridge to peace’

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The United Nations on Monday hailed a landmark Africa-wide free trade area accord launched at the weekend as a bridge towards peace on the continent.

The long sought-after zone, which African leaders hope will become the world’s largest free trade zone by cutting trade tariffs and barriers between 1.2 billion people, was officially launched with much fanfare at an African Union (AU) summit on Sunday.

UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said the the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was “integral” to “start building bridges for peace”.

“We have to find an alternative for the huge cohort of young people that we have the most of, who are the poor, the low-skilled. We owe them that,” she told AFP at the summit in Niger’s capital Niamey.