Trade Observatory set up to facilitate AfCFTA
By Tasie Theodore
A trade observatory has been established to help facilitate the implementation phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA from January 1, 2021.
According to the Chief Technical Adviser and head of the AfCFTA negotiation support unit, Prudence Sebahizi, this is with a view to ensuring a seamless take off process for the landmark agreement.
Sebahizi who made the remarks while addressing the 7th Africa Think Tank Summit, noted that already member states from across the continent who are signatories to the agreement have been given a checklist to examine their state of readiness ahead of the implementation of AfCFTA. They are also being encouraged to harmonize their legislation and policies, come up with the list of their trading items and establish a national strategy around which they would mobilize their private sector to commence trading.
“We have put in place a trade observatory to give information to the private sector. We have also put in place a mobile AfCFTA tool to assist the private sector to access information without hassles. We are negotiating and preparing so that on Jan. 1 we should start trading,” the trade expert affirmed.
Commenting on the spate of progress recorded this far, Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Centre (Tralac) in South Africa said she was quite impressed with the rising numbers of countries signing and ratifying the treaty, noting however that they still have to diversify their productive capacities and improve payment systems and infrastructure to help facilitate the implementation of the scheme.
Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary-General