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Better tariffs upon AfCFTA ratification

12 Mar 2023

Botswana has finally deposited its instrument of ratification of AfCFTA at the 36th summit of the African Union, becoming the 45th country to come on board, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared.

Briefing the media on Thursday, he said the country’s late submission comes after a series of national negotiations geared toward submitting a well-rounded and comprehensive instrument that had taken onboard all, concerning Botswana’s business landscape.

President Masisi said the accelerated implementation of the AfCFTA would certainly see the country’s ambitions of attaining export-led economy realised, especially given the open market of 1.4 billion people presented by the opportunity.

This development also comes at a time when the country has been hungry to revive its economy and introduce it’s SME sector to the competitive business landscape brought by the AfCFTA, he said.

The President said the move would as well advance local businesses through potential business to business linkages developed through robust trade that would comes as a result of joining the AfCFTA.

He said the AfCFTA would also influence the uptake and rollout of the knowledge-based economy as one of the pillars of the Presidential Reset Agenda; one things he described as instrumental to the country’s economic diversification.

Dr Masisi said the bottom of all local companies should not be seen to be spectators in the AfCFTA, but come sharpened and well aligned to compete firmly against other businesses across the continental market.

He said much progress had been made by the AfCFTA Council of Ministers, and already three protocols; Protocol on Investment, Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights as well as the one on competition, have been ratified by member states.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mmusi Kgafela said the delay in depositing an instrument of ratification of AfCFTA was based on the leadership’s quest to negotiate tariffs and duties that would be favourable for local businesses. 

He said the elimination of tariffs on certain products accorded local businesses a fair opportunity to penetrate the African market.

He said Botswana would be able to trade under the AfCFTA, after verification of the Southern African Customs Union Tariff Offer by AfCFTA Secretariat. 

He said numerous national awareness workshops had been held for customs officials to administer entry and exit of goods to ensure that qualifying products benefitted from concessions under the agreement.

He added that Botswana, with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was developing a strategy to facilitate leveraging the benefits under the AfCFTA. 

The strategy will identify the gaps and interventions needed for the business community to utilise and benefit from the agreement, he said. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : Gaborone

Event : Press Brief

Date : 12 Mar 2023