NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – 24 African countries will proceed with the plans stipulated under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement focused to create a single continental market for goods and services with free movements of goods, people and investments like the European Union.
Chairman East African Business Council (EABC) Nick Nesbit says they will not be stopped by any of the countries who have neglected boosting their trade ties across the African region.
“ We sometimes like to say that no one should be left behind, but in this case people choose to say they do not want to trade, they do not want to partner with other states, they do not want their citizens to benefit from the products of other African countries manufacturers, so be it but we do not believe that a few people staying behind means that the train will never leave the station,” said EABC chairman during (AfCFTA) workshop held in Nairobi by Kenya Private Sector Alliance(KEPSA).
He further added that African leaders put all the factors into consideration to ensure they create a safe environment for the 54 countries when the program kicked off.
“Doing business in Africa is difficult, you have physical, political, travel and non-tariff barriers but the important thing that the leaders created is a framework to improve trade in Africa and that’s it important we developed this.
Previously, the UN’s economic commission for Africa had estimated that the agreement has the capability of enhancing the continent’s trade by 53 percent.
However, the continent is still grappling with issues such as standards, language, health issues and transportation that are affecting smooth trading in the African region.
“There are still many issues that need to be addressed such as fake goods, avoidance of double taxation and recognition of visas like authenticity, logistic problems when crossing the borders,” he said.
Traders and SME’s individuals will then start sharing and comparing notes across the African region during the first week of July.
Critics have also mentioned that poor infrastructure and lack of diversity in different economies have a huge capacity of increasing barriers in trade operations in the newly signed deal.
Different countries have also asked for the elimination of non-tariff barriers has come up as conversation since trading began in the African region.
The African leaders said they hope to eliminate the tariffs by 60 percent come July 2022.
This will help boost intra-Africa trade as the majority now want to consume products and goods that are manufactured locally in which they will share with various partners both locally and internationally.