Nine in 10 African CEOs have confidence that adopting the free trade agreement will increase intra-African trade, Business Daily newspaper reported, citing a survey by the Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC).

Nearly 93 percent of the top executives from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Africa were confident the free trade agreement will boost economic activities.

In March 2018, African countries signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which commits nations to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods and address other non-tariff barriers.

A vast majority of African CEOs believe that implementing the AfCFTA will positively affect the levels of intra-African trade, even as early as 2022-23.

Nearly 20 percent of the survey takers said that the trade agreement will open up new markets to export their goods and services, with almost 15 percent expecting the creation of industrial hubs.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )