Creation of African Free Trade Zone requires infrastructures, developed industry

APS : Wednesday, 12 December 2018
CAIRO (Egypt) – The creation of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) requires the promotion of a qualified workforce, particularly in the industrial sector, and the strengthening of basic
infrastructures such as highways, said Wednesday in Cairo senior African and UN officials.
Speaking at the 7th AU African Trade Ministers meeting, held on Wednesday and Thursday in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in the presence of Minister of Commerce, Said Djellab, the participants stressed the need to lighten the commercial activity procedures between African countries.
The African Union’s Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga, called on the African countries to share their know-how, to enhance their productivity and harness their human resources potentials.
For him, the AfCFTA, once created, will significantly contribute to a genuine local processing of the African natural resources and the creation of value chains, which are likely to create jobs and wealth.
The representative of the African Regional Economic Communities, as for him, stressed the importance of training to enable a new generation of highly qualified skills to emerge and create an “Afro-African industry”.
Another sine qua non condition for the AfCFTA creation is the development of logistics chains by prioritizing air and rail transport, he said.
The same official urged the African states that have not yet signed the agreement to implement the ZLECAF to do so as soon as possible to make this future continental market operational, recalling that 13 countries ratified.
The representative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reassured African countries which are still “reluctant” vis-à-vis the ZLECAF, fearing for their “fragile” economies. This future common market would, on the contrary, strengthen their economic potential and contribute to improving the living standard of their populations, he argued.
In this regard, he suggested the lifting of protectionist measures likely to hamper the implementation of this Zone or to make it impossible, stating that dismantling tariffs would allow the strengthening of intra-African trade.

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