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Experts expect AfCFTA to promote inclusive growth in Africa


Wednesday May 29, 2024

 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — African experts said here on Monday that the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will foster inclusive growth across the continent.

Speaking at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Nairobi, Kenya, they said that increasing continental trade will reduce Africa’s dependence on traditional Western markets.

 

Vincent Nmehielle, secretary general of the AfDB Group, said that liberalizing trade across Africa by removing import duties on goods produced within the continent will boost intra-African commerce, benefiting small businesses. “More trade among African countries will also help the continent diversify its export basket, thereby creating more jobs and employment opportunities,” Nmehielle said.

John Bosco Kalisa, chief executive officer of the East African Business Council, the umbrella body of the private sector in East Africa, said that the council is currently educating small and women-owned enterprises on the procedures for trading under the AfCFTA regime.

He pointed out that Africa’s exports are predominantly unprocessed minerals and agricultural commodities. The AfCFTA, therefore, holds the promise of adding more value to these products within the continent, leading to inclusive growth.

Kalisa said that intra-African trade currently stands at 18 percent, in contrast to 50 percent in Asia and 70 percent in Europe.

Monale Ratsoma, director-general of the BRICS New Development Bank Africa Regional Center, said that his organization is prioritizing the development of infrastructure projects in Africa to facilitate easier intra-continental trade.

The AfCFTA, with an estimated population of 1.2 billion people, is expected to deliver numerous social benefits, addressing Africa’s inequalities by empowering marginalized communities, he added.

 

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