Ghana News Agency | 24 October 2021
AfCFTA/China sign MoU on establishing Expert Group on Economic Cooperation
By Iddi Yire
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the Ministry of Commerce of China, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing an Expert Group on Economic Cooperation.
The virtual event, was signed between Mr Wamkele MENE, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat and Mr Qian Keming, Vice Minister of Commerce of China.
Accordingly, with this MoU, the AfCFTA Secretariat and Ministry of Commerce of China agreed to establish an Expert Group to collaborate in the following areas such as experience-sharing on intellectual property rights, customs procedures, digital trade, competition policy and exchange concepts, policies and share progress on the Institutional capacity and implementation of the AfCFTA.
Mr Mene in his remarks noted that China and Africa shared common aspirations rooted in mutual cooperation and the need to build China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership adhering to the principle of achieving shared growth and through discussion and collaboration.
"China is a strong partner to Africa and has provided Africa with significant development and investment support over the past decade," he said.
"China continues to invest in infrastructure and industrial projects in Africa via its Belt and Road Initiative, and has opened up its market of 1.4 billion consumers to African products."
He said since the establishment of the AfCFTA Secretariat in February 2020, following my election by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, China had been actively involved in the work of the Secretariat and provided financial assistance through the African Union to the Secretariat.
Mr Mene said the AfCFTA, therefore, provides the framework for them to continue the China-Africa collaboration.
"In this regard, we envision several opportunities for cooperation including intellectual property rights, customs cooperation, digital trade, and competition policy among others."
He said the MoU would enhance China’s support towards the building of the AfCFTA and support the AfCFTA Secretariat in execution of its mandate.
Mr Mene said the MoU would facilitate dialogue between the AfCFTA Secretariat, the AfCFTA State Parties and the relevant Chinese departments and institutions in collaboration with the AU Representative Office in Beijing.
"We believe that this MoU presents an important platform for strengthening our relations, thereby contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the AfCFTA," Mr Mene said.
"Indeed, the AfCFTA will produce new trading and investment opportunities for China in various economic sectors, including agro-processing, automobiles, and financial technology."
He said the signing of this Memorandum would chart the course for a stronger, closer and more longstanding partnership between the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Ministry of Commerce of China.