Africa set for industrialization, opens market of 1.2 billion people

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) – African countries look forward to great opportunities to be created by the upcoming continental free trade area in advancing the political, social and economic development of Africa as an integrated unit, a senior official of the African Union (AU) said here on Monday.

“At this stage, I can say with confidence that the legal instruments establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be ready for signature by the African Union Heads of State and Government when they meet on 21 March,” said Ambassador Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry in the African Union Commission.

He was briefing journalists on the 10th extraordinary session of the AU leaders, to be held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, for the purpose of signing legal instruments establishing the AfCFTA and its official launch.

The AU Executive Council held a session on Monday as a clearing house ahead of the Summit after African ministers of Justice and Legal Affairs and Ministers of Trade went through the same legal instruments.

The most immediate task after the launch of the continental free trade area, Muchanga said, will be ratification by member states so that the legal instruments come into force.

He explained that after the AfCFTA comes into operation, the AU will publish an Investors’ Guide with the view to promote rapid industrialization in Africa. It will be a market of 1.2 billion people with geographic spread of 30 million square kilometres.

At their Summit, held in January 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU leaders made two decisions to facilitate the attractiveness of the African market.

These were the adoption of the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on Free Movement of People, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment. These two measures, along with the AfCFTA, are considered as flagship projects of the AU Agenda 2063.

“Through these projects, we are building an African internal market,” said Muchanga, underlining the need for investments from the private sector in Africa and abroad to promote production, trade, employment and improved livelihoods.

“Member States will also be expected to continue their national awareness campaigns on the African Continental Free Trade Area so that citizens of Africa, parliamentarians, the labour movement, the youth, private sector, academia, civil society and other stakeholders are fully aware of its existence and the opportunities that it offers to advance the political, social and economic development of Africa as an integrated unit,” he said.
-0- PANA AR 19March2018

19 march 2018 18:17:40

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