Popular

44 African Countries Signed The Continental Free Trade Agreement, Here Are The Ones That Didn't

Africa's two biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, withheld from signing the agreement to establish The African Continental Free Trade Area.

The African Union (AU), reached new heights for its Agenda 2063 project in its recent summit where 44 African countries united to sign an agreement to establish The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda.

Two of Africa's largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, withheld their signatures from the AfCFTA, along with nine other member countries. This agreement marks a new, important chapter of the AU's project 2063, which is an outline to transform Africa's socio-economy over the next 50 years. Although, the absence of signatures did not completely halt AfCFTA's establishment, it certainly hurts the image and uniting agenda of the African Union.


Without the signature of all 55 member countries, the AU will fall short in having established the largest trade agreement, by a bloc of 55 member states, in the world.

The goal of the agreement was to improve intra-regional trade throughout the continent with hopes to decrease Africa's poverty rate and grow its manufacturing base by ridding the continent of all trade barriers, including "non-tariff barriers and removing import duties", as reported on CNN. Yet, in his statement, South Africa's president, Ramaphosa, did not want to commit to the agreement until all of legal processes have taken place and passed through South Africa's "stakeholders and Parliament." On the contrary, Nigeria's president, Buhari believes the agreement needs further discussion altogether, and seems to be in more of a disagreement with the entire establishment. As he's stated on his twitter account:

Apart from Nigeria and South Africa, the other countries that did not sign the agreement were Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Burundi, Eritrea, Benin, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.

In the end, what is most important is that Africa as a continent continues to come together to reach middle ground, putting its people first and foremost. Hopefully, within the next two weeks the African Union will continue to move forward in growing Africa's social-economy, and continue to do what's best for its people.

Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Keep reading... Show less
Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Series Producer Bonga Percy Vilakazi Is Big On Telling Progressive Stories

The award-winning South African writer and producer cut his teeth in the TV industry washing and drying make-up sponges. Today, he's responsible for entertaining millions of soapie lovers on the African continent.