Improving trade facilitation can create trade opportunities and help reduce poverty in countries like Sierra Leone. In July 2018, Sierra Leone signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and was ratified by its Parliament in November 2018. The objective of ACFTA is to strengthen trade liberalization and coordination across Africa and to create a continental domestic market for goods and services. In April 2019, the ACFTA received the last of the 22 signatories necessary for its entry into force and will enter into force in July 2019. Sierra Leone is a member of the WTO and Sierra Leone`s highest rates of duty apply to other WTO members. This situation has not been affected by the implementation of ECOWAS CET, as the cet rates are part of Sierra Leone`s binding WTO commitments. Imports from other SRM countries are exempt from customs duties. The AfCFTA Agreement was signed by 44 countries (BBC Africa), after 2 years of negotiations and 6 years since its conception in Addis Ababa during the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. This signature takes place one year after its indicative date (AU AfCFTA). The AfCFTA proposes to create a single market for goods and services that would involve the free movement of businessmen, investors and their investments on the African continent. It hopes to expand intra-African trade, while building on existing regional economic blocs and continuing to harmonize and coordinate further liberalizations and trade facilities.
It promises a comprehensive trade policy, greater market access, effective productivity in competition, exploitation of comparative advantages and access to finance. It would also serve as a basis for the continent`s search for a Customs Union (AU AfCFTA). After the Kigali summit, more signatures were added to the AfCFTA. At the African Union summit in Nouakchott on 1 July 2018, five other nations, including South Africa, joined the agreement. Kenya and Ghana were the first nations to ratify the agreement and deposit their ratifications on 10 May 2018.  Of the signatories, 22 had to ratify the agreement in order for it to enter into force on 29 April 2019, when Sierra Leone and the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic ratified the agreement.  As a result, the agreement entered into force 30 days later, on May 30, 2019, in force; at that time, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea had not yet signed. .