Fin24 | 4 November 2020
Africa free trade agreement must be rolled out by January after pandemic delay - Secretariat
by Londiwe Buthelezi
Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat told delegates at the annual competition law, economics & policy conference on Wednesday that the Secretariat was at advances stages of concluding phase one of the agreement which deals with the trading of goods and services. While understandably not all countries will be ready to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) terms from day one, Mene said the Secretariat was “determined” to get this off the ground from the first day of the year and those countries who lag will hopefully staring start moving together with the rest soon after that.
“We have now resumed our work. We are now negotiating virtually. We are meeting in person where we can, to ensure that we are ready to commerce trading under the AfTCA preferences from the 1st of January 2021,” said Mene. The told the conference that the AfCFTA was possibly the last chance for Africa to move forward with an integrated market in in the continent and overcome “smallness” of its individual economies as well as reliance on export of commodities.