African Trade Ministers Push for Single Continental Market for Goods and Services Following High Profile Meeting in Rwanda

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A just-concluded meeting that ran for two days in Rwanda this weekend has left the African continent abuzz with talks of a more unified approach to trade in the region.

The meeting, which was held in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, brought together African trade ministers to consider and adopt a set of laws dubbed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Legal instruments. The laws are due for consideration by the Heads of State and Government Summit later this month.

Among the trade ministers, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohamed is optimistic of the positive decision for the creation of a single continental market for good and services.

The Cabinet Secretary made his sentiments clear as he led a Kenyan delegation to the African Ministers of Trade Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda late last week.

This follows the decision by the African leaders to hold an Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly on 21st March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, during which the Agreement establishing the African Continental FTA is expected to be signed.

“The AfCFTA will bring together 55 African countries with a combined population of more than 1.2 billion people, with a vibrant and growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion,” said Cabinet Secretary Mohamed.

The main outcome of the AfCFTA is expected to be the creation a single continental market for goods and services, through tariff liberalisation and improving the regulatory framework, with free movement of business persons and investments across Africa and member countries.

Apart from creating a single liberalized market, the move seeks to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level, enhance value addition of products and exploit economies of scale and optimum utilization of the resource.

The AfCFTA negotiation has therefore developed a document known as the Framework Text aimed at establishing protocols that will help regulate trade across the region.

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