Ramaphosa: AfCFTA will Drive In­tra-African Trade, In­vest­ment

THISDAY - - NEWS - Ndubuisi Fran­cis

South African Pres­i­dent, Cyril Ramaphosa has de­clared that the African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) would pro­vide in­te­grated and di­ver­si­fied mar­kets that would un­lock Africa’s full pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity.

Nige­ria is yet to sign into AfCFTA, which al­ready has 49 African coun­tries as sig­na­to­ries.

In a key­note ad­dress at the an­nual meet­ings and 25th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the African Ex­port-Im­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank), in Abuja, Ramaphosa said that the AfCFTA held enor­mous op­por­tu­ni­ties for the growth of the economies of the African con­ti­nent.

He stressed the need to ad­dress the con­ti­nent’s in­fra­struc­ture deficit and to pur­sue in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment.

In his ad­dress, Pres­i­dent of Afrex­im­bank, Dr. Bene­dict Oramah wel­comed the sign­ing of the AfCFTA agree­ment by 44 African na­tions in Ki­gali in March, adding that it would ac­cel­er­ate the in­te­gra­tion of Africa mar­kets, fos­ter re­gional value chains and pro­mote dy­namic com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage across Africa for cer­tain kinds of goods and boost em­ploy­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “It is im­por­tant that the AfCFTA be thor­oughly de­bated so that ev­ery­one would un­der­stand the op­por­tu­ni­ties it of­fered and the ob­sta­cles that needed to be over­come.”

In her ad­dress, Nige­ria’s Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, Mrs. Kemi Adeo­sun said that con­tin­ued in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments and a fo­cus on trade, par­tic­u­larly re­gional trade, would drive sus­tain­able growth.

Adeo­sun com­mended Afrex­im­bank for its role dur­ing the last global re­ces­sion when it sup­ported many African coun­tries with trade sup­port and lines of credit at a time oth­ers were with­draw­ing from Africa.

More than 100 speak­ers in­clud­ing Heads of State, min­is­ters, cen­tral bank gov­er­nors, heads of in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions, busi­ness lead­ers, African and global trade de­vel­op­ment ex­perts, and aca­demics, are speak­ing dur­ing the four- day an­nual meet­ings and 25th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

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