A total of 44 African countries signed the historic African continental free trade agreement earlier this year. Only 12 of the 22 ratifying countries have been ratified, but policy makers believe that there is still enough time and practical solutions to move the process forward. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of men and women and investment, and thus open the way for the acceleration of Creation of the Continental Customs Union and of the African Customs Union. African countries could use the time elapsed until March 2019, the deadline for ratification, to develop their capacity in terms of the legislative and tariff instruments required for the process and for other measures “on hand” presented by a panel in the Economic Conference, currently under way in Kigali, Rwanda, told the delegates. “We learned many lessons,” said Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Center. “We have a niche for capacity building … most of the implementation is at a national level … there are many things that existing free trade areas can bring,” he said. saying.
The AfCFTA firm, with its potential to create the largest free trade area in the world, uniting fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $ 3.4 billion It also generated a lot of debate about the challenges of harmonizing disparate tax, fiscal and regulatory regimes, as well as the varied socio-political composition of nations on the continent.
But Rwanda, which has assumed the bold leadership of Africa’s integration agenda, argues that the benefits outweigh the losses.
Noting that Rwanda was one of the first countries to sign AfCFTA, the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry Soraya Hakuziyaremye, one of the panelists, said it was imperative for the country to champion regional integration and African integration.
“We understand the benefit,” she said, adding that she preferred using the term “land-linked,” rather than landlocked, to describe her native Rwanda.
“Africa cannot afford not to be part of a larger bloc advocating for a common market,” she said.
The Minister and Hartzenberg were part of a panel entitled “What next after the Launch of AfCFTA?”.
The session, moderated by African Development Bank Director of Regional Integration Moona Mupotola, also included Prof. Ademola Oyejide, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Ibadan and Professor Olu Ajakaiye, Executive Chairman, African Center for Shared Development and Capacity Building.
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“Las expectativas his altas, private sector is esperando”, dijo. “No comments on preparations for implementation”.
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