News, Kigali – Rwanda
East African countries are exporting goods valued at nearly USD 8 Billion to other countries on the African Continent.
According to the East African Business Council, the USD 7.9 Billion worth of merchandise that the EAC sells to the entire continent accounts for 42 percent of the total exports of goods that the region sends out to the entire world.
Total exports of goods from East African countries to the world are valued at USD 18.7 billion as of latest data.
The items that the East African Community exports to other parts of the continent include precious stones, coffee, tea, cement, animal fats, and mineral oils, as well as iron and steel.
Statistics show, in 2021 intra-Africa goods exports reached USD 82.2 billion.
Those are among the issues being discussed in the National Private Sector Sensitization Workshop on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement on Trade in Goods Protocol, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.
The event was organized by Arusha-based East African Business Council (EABC) and the GIZ- Support to East African Market-Driven and People-Centred Integration Programme II.
The EABC vice Chair, Denis Karera said, the AfCFTA Agreement envisages to boost intra-African trade through the gradual elimination of over 90 percent tariffs on goods and the removal of non-tariff barriers and trade restrictions on goods and services.
Antoine Kajangwe the Director of General of Trade and Industry from Rwandan Ministry of Trade and Industry, who graced the occasion stated that the first and important AfCFTA advantage is the progressive reduction of import duties or tariffs) to zero.
The elimination of such tariffs should apply to 90 percent of earmarked 6000 products by 2025.
Rwandans have started trading under AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative with the first shipment of Premium Igere Coffee to Ghana in September 2022.
Antoine Kajangwe said that Rwanda has already done studies on the market access competitiveness on prioritized sectors under AfCFTA and plans are underway for the private sector stakeholders to validate the findings of the studies before penetrating other African Countries such as DRC, Ghana and Cote D’ Ivoire.
“Let’s take advantage of the market of the 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product valued at USD3.4 trillion which will be created by AfCFTA” Kajangwe said.
The EABC Executive John Bosco Kalisa urged the new EAC Member, South Sudan to ratify the AfCFTA Agreement.
Rwanda’s exports to Africa stand at USD.1.56 billion, while imports from Africa clock at USD.3.73 billion. Goods from Rwanda include petroleum and gas, medical instruments, cereals, vegetable oils, sugar, fish and coffee.