By Elias Hakizimana.
African Union’s (AU) trade ministers have agreed up on the signature and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) due March 21, 2018. The agreements will be signed by Heads of states and governments.
The initiative was the result of discussions from the 5th meeting of the AU ministers of trade started on March 8, 2018 and will be concluded tomorrow, March 9, 2018 after a in Kigali.
According to Albert M. Muchanga, AU-Commissioner of Trade and Industry, this document will serve as a landmark of tangible achievements by the senior trade officials, trade’s chief negotiators and development partners.
Muchanga saluted the contribution of everyone to come up with the establishment of the AFCFTA and said that the second phase negotiation will see the implementation policy of the agreements.
“Our task will be to assure a continental free trade area by easing investments. Our task as the private sector also will be to convince and deliver attractive services and we should be able to leverage the implementation of the AFCFTA so that we have descent jobs, descent lives and through self-employment opportunities among young populations,” said Muchanga.
He further noted that the next step after this Summit will be to enforce the results from the discussions into actions.
“We are also proud of common vision of Africa’s prosperity. Our task after this summit will be to transform our commitment into actions and we will keep the real momentum of these achievements after coming up with such tangible results. I call all of us to reflect on AFCFTA as it has many trading opportunities,” Muchanga noted.
The AFCFTA will see the boost of a single air transport market, improving intra-Africa trade and having a common market.
As we strongly work together, Africa will have a bright future; and, in this respect, I call all of you to meet the expectations from this summit by delivering on time the legal framework of the AFCFTA,” Muchanga recommended.
He said that the day before the summit of March 21, 2018 the private sector will be gathered together to be told of a good story of the AFCFTA as they are the major source of investments on the continent.
“Right now when we look at the part of investments, only 12 percent of investment’s flows in Africa are counted from the African private sector. We wanted to increase that. In Asia is 33 percent, and therefore they are offering a large market, if somebody produces in Rwanda under the continental free trade area, they are able to export to the rest of Africa at 33%, no charges, and they are going to remove all non-tariff barriers,” Muchanga highlighted.
Rwanda’sTrade and Industry minister Vincent Munyeshyaka assured that Rwanda is ready to sign the AFCFTA agreements and that they will deliver on the mandate of this document.
We have no choice other than delivering on this achievable goal, thanks to the efforts by the chief negotiators of such a substantive and well-done job. I ensure a very efficient establishment of AFCFTA to be signed by our senior government’s officials. The AFCFTA is very clear. We may all have different approaches to get there but what is important is to have a common vision to get there,” said Munyeshyaka.
He said that the AFCFTA will be a milestone for Africa’s history and that it is meaningful for Rwanda and will accelerate the Africa’s vision 2063 with a United, developed and peaceful Africa.
He said that the current trade between African countries is countered to 15% as 85% is a shared trade with other continents’ countries.
Africa’s export rate to other countries is at 3.5%, which means that Africa still has low trade on the globe.
Munyeshyaka said also that the agreements will help African countries to discuss on the barriers facing trade on the continent (non-tariff barriers).
Rwanda is among trade organizations such as COMESA, EAC, which Munyeshyaka said will take a next step to join other big trade organizations on the continent.
By Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl