Zambia says Africa free trade agreement to boost intra-trade

LUSAKA- The Zambian government said on Tuesday the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a milestone in boosting infra-Africa trade and economic integration.

On Monday, African leaders launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA during the 12th extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government summit in Niamey, Niger.

The AfCFTA will be governed by five operational instruments namely the rules of origin, the online negotiating forum, the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers, a digital payment system and the African Trade Observatory.

Joseph Malanji, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, said in a release that the bold decision taken by Africa in opening markets should also be accompanied with the continent’s industrialization agenda.

The Zambian minister, however, urged the AU to come up with a robust facility that will minimize the economic shocks that will come as a result of duty elimination, according to the release.

Zambia, he said, was committed to ensuring that the AfCFTA was beneficial to all participating countries.

Christopher Yaluma, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry said market openness in Africa presents vast opportunities for technology transfer and creating synergies to spur economic growth and development.

He called for the AU to accelerate work on remaining areas including market access offers, negotiations on trade in services, competition, investment and intellectual property.

Source: Ghana News Agency