Rwanda is meeting with other counterparts in the ongoing conference that will see the approval of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area to make a close assessment of its interests in the common market.
Ministers for Trade and Commerce from across the African continent are convening in Kigali to review the draft African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement ahead of its signing later this month.
“We are meeting for two days which has convened minister of trade from African countries. We are expecting the signing of the agreement of the continental free trade agreement. Our aim is that we include the free trade in the sustainable development goals and other development initiatives. We want African through the agreements to increase trade and the role of the African continent in international trade. We also want to have the non-tariff barriers to be removed because we are also members of different regional trade bloc,” said Munyeshyaka, the Rwandan Minister for Trade during today’s session.
“We have to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources” Hon. Minister Munyeshyaka Said.
Article 9 to 14 of the agreement that established the AfCFTA sets the institutional framework for the administration and various protocols and the annexes to the agreement that further elaborates on institutional arrangements for managing different elements included in the scope of the agreement.
Under Article 9, the institutional framework for the AfCFTA provides that after approval on March 21 in another meeting, the leadership will include the assembly of presidents and government representatives, the council of African ministers, committee of senior officials and the secretariat.
“The road taken to establish the continental free trade area is a landmark. The decision and approval tomorrow by the trade policy advisors and senior officials and the legal committee of minister for justice, the legal instrument for the endorsement of the document will convey the document for signature by the presidents,” said Albert Muchanga, AfCFTA commissioner.
He said they also meeting on March 20 with the Private Sectors to elaborate to them the many interests they have in the AfCFTA.
It was during the 4th meeting of African ministers for trade (AMOT) meeting in Niamey in Nigeria in December 2017 that the African Union Commission (AUC) was tasked to prepare a technical note on the proposed institutional arrangements for the AfCFTA which highlights among other cooperation fields, its relation with AUC structure as well as the financial implications.
During the same premier meeting in Nigeria, the trade ministers called for the alignment of Article 14 and 15 establishing the AfCFTA and setting the budget and financing for institutional framework respectively in the legal scrubbing.
Achieving Africa’s rightful place in the global economy, single continental market for goods and services and as well as investments will play a vital role for the continent, said Burkina Faso’s trade minister Harouna Kabore.
The technical note was updated and revised during the 9th and 10th Negotiation Forums based on the comments and inputs received during the forums.
Today the sessions made recitals of the oversight institutions, their functions and modalities of work; relations between the AfCFTA and the AU and institutions; secretariat functions and modalities of work; director general, functions, appointments, and tenure of office; budget and finance issues; transition and implementation issues.
The CFTA is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of businesses and investments. This, according to AU, will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.