Story by John Nhandara
THE Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) says there is need to accelerate implementation of the trade pact which is envisaged to boost Africa’s income by US$450 billion dollars by the year 2035.
Organs of the Pan African Parliament that include the bureau, regional caucuses and permanent committees engaged the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat this Thursday on progress made in the creation of a single continental market that will eliminate trade barriers and boost intra Africa trade.
AfCFTA secretary general Mr Wamkele Mene was very clear on how an integrated regional market will simplify customs procedures, establish regional value chains and foster industrialisation in the continent.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area has been ratified by 46 countries who have deposited their instruments of ratification. We need to have a new Africa trade regime. It is the first time in the history of Africa that we are following the spirit of Abuja treaty in the integration of our plan of action. Implementation of AfCFTA will lift one million Africans out of extreme and abject poverty. We have an opportunity to increase intra Africa trade by 81 percent,” he explained.
Pan African Parliament members acknowledged some of the bottlenecks and fragmentation of Africa’s market.
“There is need for unity of purpose among member states. We cannot have economic integration without the political and social will,” said a PAP legislator.
The President of the Pan African Parliament Chief Fortune Charumbira emphasised the role of his institution in the implementation of AfCFTA.
“One of our mandate is to ensure protocols are ratified, and that citizens are aware and participate in the socio and economic issues pertaining to the continent. With the theme of AfCFTA in mind every committee has a duty to play in it’s implementation.
Meanwhile all eleven PAP permanent committees, that include committee on trade, customs and immigration matters and the committee on health labour and social affairs made presentations with regards to various issues affecting the African continent.
The issues were topical during sittings of the PAP permanent committees and other organs.