The Economic Policy Research Network Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) conducted a high level Policy dialogue to brain storm on African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement today.
The dialogue was held at the iconic Kigali Convention center beginning around 9:00Am and end 1:00Pm. The talk attracted members of various sectors including private sectors, civil society, public institutions, academicians, embassies, media houses and researchers. Aiming at brainstorming and exchanging of ideas on Rwanda’s comparative advantages to tap into the African Continental free trade Area Agreement, the workshop saw key challenges, opportunities and recommendations towards success.
In a sharp presentation, UNECA representative, Dr Andrew opened the first round of the conversation and shed light on why Africa needs to embrace the Agreement. ‘’There is a need to have a complementary policy to support African free trade area and have quality products sourced from local regions and minimize importation consumption by consuming locally made products and services,’’ he said, adding that countries such as Nigeria, Benin , Botswana, Erithrea and Guinea Bissau just to name a few of them, have yet ratified the treaty but there is hope that they will be convinced with success that the united African countries will have been achieved by incase productive capacity across all sectors of economy is built to strengthen togetherness.
Talking about Rwanda, the MINICOM representative Alice led the second round of the dialogue. The discussion became a mouthwatering debate since dialogue participants shared ideal ideas among themselves to look for ways to be on the same page. Given that Rwanda has a fast growing rate of young generation, there are a lot of opportunities that the country has an urgent need to benefit from shared incomes resulted from working together with other countries thanks to geographical position that enables the country to build a strong and sustainable relationship with not only neighbors but countries from overseas because Rwanda is no longer a landlocked country but a land linked country with its geographical position.
Now that Rwanda has a favorable environment for doing business due to safety and having multilingual youths, it has become a serviceable hub. Strong education system that refines students and makes them skilled enough to outperform globally and become ownership in terms of producing local services and products is expected to take Rwanda to the next level as the project is implemented.
About African Continental Free Trade Agreement
The African free Trade Agreement ( AfCFTA) is an agreement between 44 African Union members states. The AfCFTA was signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. The AfCFTA is a tool for driving African industrialization, economic diversification and development. It will help to promote a type of a trade that produces sustainable growth, creates jobs for young people in Africa and establishes opportunities for nurturing businesses and entrepreneurs on the continent.
Signed in the Agreement does not yet establish the African continental Free Trade Area. It will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added. Once all documents are ratified by 22 states, the free trade area will formally exist.
To fully utilize the opportunity of the AfCFTA, each country should develop a strategy that complements the broader trade policy of each respective state and that identifies for that particular country key trade opportunities, currently constrains and steps requires for it to take full advantage of the African market. Such strategy would be in line with the action plan for boosting intra-African trade of the African union.