The Secretary-General, Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene, has described the AfCFTA as a key driver for Africa’s recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mene was quoted in a statement by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry as saying this during a courtesy visit to the chamber in Lagos.
He said the continent’s ability to trade in merchandise and services, inclusive of the airlines industry, tourism and other components, was critical to its recovery.
He said that Africa, before the outbreak of the pandemic, was a significant market with a growing rate of 3.4 per cent annually, and the producer of six out of 10 fastest-growing economies of the world.
Mene said, “With COVID-19, we went from that to a contraction of a magnitude that we have not had in about 30 years.
“But with the objectives of the AfCFTA, by 2035, by dabbling into Africa trade, Africa is on the path to industrial development and we are building a capacity to diversify our exports within and outside the continent.”
According to him, the projection of International Monetary Fund is that by 2022, there will be some positive growth trajectory of 2.1 per cent for Sub-Saharan Africa if we roll out vaccines on time and implement the AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA secretary general also addressed the challenges with rules of origin under the agreement.
According to him, the agreement has rules that cater to discipline, dumping of products, subsidised products and preferential safeguards, among others.
He called for concerted efforts by the private sector, the AfCFTA Secretariat and the regulatory agencies to build greater capacity for the customs authorities of participating countries for the success of the agreement.