By Anthony Opara
African nations and businesses are seriously braced for the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA after its launch event next month, The Difference can report.
While the leaders of the 52 states that have signed up to participate in the landmark trade agreement are presently putting finishing touches to their implementation approaches, businesses across the continent are equally commissioning studies and taking early steps to ensure that they fully benefit from the expanded cross-border trade environment that the deal primarily offers.
Not even the three hold-out states – Nigeria, Eritrea and Benin Republic – that are yet to sign up for the treaty are excluded from the developing frenzy and enthusiasm.
In this series of reports that would be published over the next few months, The Difference would be reviewing and reporting developments from the different business and national spaces across the continent in this season leading to the take off of the treaty and beyond.
According to Mangaliso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe’s Minister for Industry and Commerce, his country’s signing up for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which would be launched in July in Niamey was not without deep thought and considerations.
“I understand the potential risk to it and the biggest one being we are likely to be on the receiving end from big companies who have more competitive products who will use us as a dumping site but obviously we did not assent to it blind-folded. We are aware of the risks that are there . . .
“If I may just add on, as a country we have negotiated that we will fully implement the treaty in 15 years so we have more time to industrialise,” he said in a recent interview.
Uhuru Kenyata, President of Kenya