CONSUMER Unity and Trust Society, centre coordinator Chenai Mukumba has reiterated the need for African countries who have signed the African continental free trade area agreement to build productive alliances and the necessary capabilities for industry even as African continent embraces free trade.
Yesterday South Africa joined the long list of African countries that have now signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The agreement cast in the mold of the European Union’s version was signed during the 10th ordinary session of African union heads of state summit held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
And Mukumba notes that while the implementation of the free trade area agreement is likely to create both opportunities and challenges, African countries need to take advantage of emerging opportunities, while minimizing the negative impact.
“The AfCFTA envisages liberalization of both trade in goods and services in the first phase of negotiations, and will extend to investment, competition policy and intellectual property in the second phase,” said Mukumba.
She adds that it is important that as the African continent embraces free trade, there is need to build productive alliances and the necessary capabilities for industry take advantage of emerging opportunities, while minimizing negative impact.
“There is no doubt that implementation of the AfCFTA will create both opportunities and challenges. Therefore, the onus is on participating countries to take advantage of emerging opportunities, while minimizing the cost of trade openness,” she explained.
In the meantime Permanent Secretary in the ministry of commerce trade and industry Kayula Siame recently told 5fm News that there is a lot of support from stakeholders for Zambia to sign the continental free trade area.