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Three trade protocols at advanced stage

13 Feb 2023

Africa Continental Free Trade Agreemnet (AfCFTA) Council of Ministers has reported progress on the three protocols; the Protocol on Investment, Intellectual Property Rights as well on Competition which have been ratified by member states.

In his remarks during the 14th meeting  of the AfCFTA council of ministers responsible for trade on Saturday, secretary general, Mr Wamkele Mene said much work was still remaining to conclude on Protocol on Women and Youth in trade as well as the Protocol on Digital Trade.

“We are on track I believe, to conclude on that deadline that our Heads of State have set for us. We also have very positive news, in the sense that there will soon be 45 state parties to the agreement establishing the AfCFTA,” he said.

Mr Mene congratulated Mozambique for ratifying the agreement establishing the AfCFTA and said they looked forward to Mozambique, in due course, depositing their instrument of ratification.

He said they shall continue to work with the countries that had not yet ratified, but who had strong commitment to the AfCFTA, to conclude their domestic ratification processes, once the consultations at national level had taken place.

One of the reasons why it was important to convene for the 14th meeting was because this year the theme that the Assembly of Heads of State and Government have chosen is “the acceleration of the AfCFTA, he said.

The secretary general said all organs and agencies of the African Union were expected during the course of this year to focus their mandates on this particular theme.

“It is therefore very important that in the implementation of the AfCFTA, we decentralize and that we get closer to the constituencies and the domestic stakeholders that we expect to benefit from this Agreement,” he said.

Mr Mene said acceleration of implementation of the AfCFTA would require that council ministers work with Regional Economic Communities, including women and youth in trade, small and medium enterprises and of course, other forms of organized private sector.

He said during the course of this year, AfCFTA had no option, but to accelerate implementation, mentioning that working with ministers appointed by respective heads of state, meant that they jointly had a particular responsibility at political level to make sure that they succeed.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mmusi Kgafela reminded senior trade officials of their commitment to conclude the outstanding issues on Trade in Goods, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the commencement of implementation of the Agreement as directed by the AU Assembly in November 2022.

Mr Kgafela emphasized the importance of the AfCFTA as an instrument for Africa’s economic integration and development especially for landlocked countries such as Botswana. He mentioned the innumerable opportunities under the different trade sectors which will boost trade and improve livelihoods when appropriately implemented.

The minister highlighted the need for African manufacturers, traders and investors to benefit from the AfCFTA regime, mentioning that implementation of administration will tremendously increase trade in goods and services other than extracted minerals. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : Gaborone

Event : Meeting

Date : 13 Feb 2023