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African Governments Urged To Implement CFTA Treaty To Boost Trade.

The local business community has urged African governments to fast-track implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in order to ease movement of goods and services in the continent.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 aimed at fast-tracking the continent’s economic growth and development.

The call has come ahead of the forthcoming CFTA summit to be held in Kigali later this month.
Annette Uwitonze, a Kigali-based importer, said  the summit should move beyond signing agreements to implement the treaty to help boost trade across the continent.

``There is need to facilitate the movement of goods and services to improve trade between African countries and support the continent’s development initiatives, including job-creation and poverty eradication. Therefore, as members of the business community, we would like leaders to expedite the implementation of the treaty to further facilitate intra-Africa trade,” she said

During the upcoming summit, continental leaders are expected to sign legal instruments to establish the Africa free trade area.

Uwitonze is optimistic that the move will help reduce the cost of doing business across the region and on the continent.

Once it is signed and implemented, it will create huge market of a combined population of more than 1.2 billion people across 55 African countries and total gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.

Patrick Tuyisenge, a Kigali`-based exporter and a regional trade expert, said the huge market potential is reason enough to encourage continental leaders to implement the treaty.

According to Geoffrey Kamanzi, the PSF director for trade facilitation and negotiations, creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments, will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the customs union.

“This will help expand intra-African trade through harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation across the region,” he added.

According to trade experts, this agreement is expected to enhance competitiveness at industry and enterprise levels by enabling large-scale production and better reallocation of resources to benefit the large continental market.

In an earlier interview, Prudence Sebahizi, the Chief Technical Advisor and head of the CFTA unit at the AU Commission’s department of trade and industry, called the treaty a “business game-changer” that is expected to result into tremendous positive economic impact on people and the continent at large.

Sebahizi said the single market will spur industrialisation, economic diversification and trade.
“It will also bring together countries to formulate a common agenda for Africa to speak with one voice and act in unison, thereby leveraging the continent’s strengths in her commercial and diplomatic engagements with the rest of the world.”

Culled from The New Times