Forty three countries out of the 55 African States have ratified the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
A total of 45 countries have already submitted the schedule of liberalization plus 87 percent of Rules of Origin for all products that have been agreed upon in the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Prudence Sebahizi, the Chief Technical Advisor on the Continental Free Trade Area at the African Union Commission, reveals that intra-Africa trade is at 18 percent and AfCFTA is set to boost trade to over 70 percent.
Speaking during the Regional Private Sector Consultative Meeting on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), Sebahizi said 13 percent of Rules of Origin are outstanding for products such as Textiles, Clothing and Household.
Textile composes 10.5 percent of the outstanding Rules of Origin, while Motor vehicle, parts and accessories compose 1.4 percent of the outstanding Rules of Origin. On the other hand, Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes together with Fish and others are said to be composing of 1 percent of the outstanding Rules of Origin.AfCFTA
The Regional Private Sector Consultative Meeting was organized by the East African Business Council and Trademark East Africa.
It was attended by 50 industry leaders and policy experts from private sector associations from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania
The EABC Chief Executive, John Bosco Kalisa, said, “The finalization of RoO negotiation at AfCFTA is important as the outstanding products are central in EAC regional value chains and job creation.”
Kalisa called for compliance to the agreed-upon protocols and implementation of customs processes such as tariff reductions for trade to materialize under the AfCFTA.
“AfCFTA should be anchored on strong private sector engagement” added Kalisa, calling for trust-building and mind-set shift to promote ‘Made in East Africa.’ and ‘Africa’ products.
The COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine disrupt Africa’s trading patterns and economic growth prospects.
Industry leaders have called for import substitution to boost intra-Africa trade. Mr. Kalisa stated that EAC regional value chains should feed seamlessly into the continental value chains.
Ms Anataria Uwamariya, the TMEA Director of Business Competitiveness said, “Strengthening early monitoring and detection mechanisms and resilience of our economies is important in light of the global disruptions, adding that Access to market intelligence data is important for businesses to trade under AfCFTA.”
Industry leaders want Ministers to quickly finalize the negotiations of the Rules of Origin at the AfCFTA level, Strong trade dispute resolution mechanism, Improve infrastructure connectivity, Open skies, Capacity building on AfCFTA policies and opportunities, Publication of AfCFTA e-Tariff books and host the next edition of intra-Africa Trade Fair in East Africa.