For Africa to benefit from the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signatories will have to revisit their legal and logistical structures – Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has said.
“The signing of AfCFTA should be cause for celebration and tremendous economic benefits to Africans would be worth a continental party,” Mushikiwabo said.
Minister Mushikiwabo on Monday launched the 2-day African Union’s Executive Council which brings together African Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting precedes the African Union (AU) Extra Ordinary Heads of State Summit on Continental Free Trade Area, where twenty six (26) heads of State have confirmed attendance.
Heads of State will sign an agreement that will launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Our countries have to work on establishing the administrative, legal and logistical structures that will make use of this opportunity,” Mushikiwabo said.
“However, we should realize that what we make of the AfCFTA is up to us. We have the choice to translate vast potential into concrete reality and each of us has to do our part.”
The Minister also believes that AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063.
“It is one of our key milestones, a critical initiative that has the ability to bring about the social and economic changes that Africa has been envisioning for decades,” she said.
It came to the attention of the media that all countries are not ready to sign on March 21st, rather, they will have to first consult respective parliament of their countries.
Mushikiwabo said the countries should fast track the project.
“This should not only win us the confidence of the investment community but provide increased bargaining power in future partnership agreements, to help secure the best deals for African businesses.”
Mushikiwabo said that burdensome regulations, access to finance by the private sector, infrastructure networks, and simplification of customs processes are some of the practical challenges that must be addressed, if Africa wants to significantly increase intra-Africa trade.