However, more important changes within the WTO are important in assessing them. At the time of the letter, the campaign for the next WTO Directorate General (DG) was two women, including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria`s former finance minister and former World Bank number two. I hope that the new governance of the WTO will be a catalyst for urgent reforms in areas such as dispute settlement, transparency and a more active work programme, which will include a possible new round of multilateral trade negotiations. AfCFTA countries should now prepare their strategy for active participation in the reform process. It is essential to build on AfCFTA to expand market access across Africa and strengthen intellectual property and investment rules. The AfCFTA Investment Protocol has the potential to streamline the complex intra-African investment framework by replacing the existing 171 intra-African ILOs with a single contract governing all intra-African investments. The EU`s recent agreements with third parties contain a provision that the bits between the parties will cease to enter into force after the new agreement comes into force, including the rights and obligations that flow from it, and will be replaced and replaced by the new agreement. See z.B Article 4.2 of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (2019). A similar approach would create a more manageable network of commitments between African countries and promote intra-African FDI flows and broader continental economic integration. It remains to be seen how the investment protocol would work with Africa`s existing regional AIs. The inclusion of clear relational clauses would be important to avoid possible contradictions and to establish a hierarchy of obligations arising from African regional AI. Given the need for an Africa-wide free trade agreement, there is no doubt that a new date will be concluded in due course. In light of the Phase 2 negotiations, which are expected to be concluded by December 2020, it is worth considering whether AfCFTA will better protect investors across Africa and here in South Africa, thereby providing greater confidence to potential investors, for whom the current global market offers many opportunities.
AfCFTA is expected to be fully operational by July 2020. Negotiations for AfCFTA began for the first time in 2015. The afCFTA`s texts and protocols on trade in goods, services and dispute resolution rules and procedures have been finalised in 2018. The Trade Protocol aims to encourage domestic and foreign investment on the basis of a comprehensive merchandise trade protocol that enhances economic efficiency and interdependencies, improves social welfare, gradually removes trade barriers, increases trade and investments that offer greater opportunities for economies of scale for Enterprises of States Parties. It is hoped that the final investment protocol will create a framework that can make investment a significantly easier across Africa. However, it is not yet known to what extent the different interests represented on the continent will be able to reach an investment agreement, particularly because of overlapping and often overlapping regional and bilateral investment agreements. Potential and current investors should keep a close eye on developments in Addis Ababa.  Oecd Business and Finance Outlook 2016, Chapter 8, The Impact of Investment Contracts on Businesses, Shareholders and Creditors, S.3, available on www.oecd.org/daf/inv/investment-policy/BFO-2016-Ch8-Investment-Treaties.pdf. AfCFTA recognizes the need for clear, transparent, predictable and mutually beneficial rules between States Parties regarding trade in goods and services, competition policy, investment and intellectual property.