Members of the private sector in Africa have called for the completion of negotiations on schedule of tariff offers, finalisation of work on Rules of Origin, full operationalisation of the Pan African Payment Platform and the speedy resolution of all outstanding issues germane to the effective implementation of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

They made the call yesterday at the Lighting of the Africa Trade Torch for the implementation of AfCFTA, held in Zambia and other member state countries simultaneously.

The President of Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA), Francis Meshioye, called for support for the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat in the quest to evolve strategic approaches that will ensure trading in the AfCFTA corridor stimulates inclusive development in Africa through a strategic framework.

The framework is expected to facilitate inflow of investment into the continent, ensure upscaling of trade in manufactured goods through improved industrial capacity, as well as inclusion of women, youth, innovation and technology development in the implementation roadmap.

Others include addressing macroeconomic environment, poor competitiveness and dearth of trade facilitation infrastructure prevailing in many African countries, deliberate development of industrial inputs to reduce the intensity of reliance on the global supply chain, intentionally bringing down all the historical physical borders in Africa, facilitating peaceful co-existence and security of lives and property, as well as effective support for all organised private sector organisations in Africa.

He said the private sector plays a critical role in transforming trade in Africa, even as he affirmed their commitment to the seamless operationalization of AfCFTA.

Meshioye said AfCFTA is the largest single market in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $2.6 trillion and is estimated to boost Africa’s export by more than $600 billion with wage gain of more than 10 per cent.

Meshioye said this presents a unique opportunity for increased production capacities and trade volume, as well as creating enduring wealth for the continent for significant reduction in poverty.

He said the single liberalised market for free trade in goods and services under AfCFTA offers a lifetime opportunity for African countries to trade more with each other and refocus national economic as well as investment and industrial policies to be in sync with continental aspirations to enhance private sector development.

Meshioye said it will also grow national economies, increase the number of African multinational companies and fast-track the process of fully integrating the continent into the global market.

Also speaking, the President, Africa Business Council Dr. Amany Asfour, said African countries must work closely to realise AfCFTA to boost economies of the continent.

She said the council is looking forward to the integration of Africa to ensure its economies grow despite the challenges in the continent.

As four said the Africa trade torch lighting kicks off the implementation of AfCFTA, adding that manufacturing and industrialisation is critical to the realisation of the trade agreement.

She also called on institutions across the continent to fully support the African private sector, as they are critical to the successful operation of AfCFTA.

Representative of the Africa Youths Entrepreneur from Chad, Idris Adoum Idriss, commended the event, noting that the initiative is very important for youth entrepreneurs in the continent, as they contribute largely to the growth of the economy.

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