Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives of the Republic of Uganda Amelia Kyambadde, and the head of the African Union’s (AU) ministers of trade conference, stressed the need to remove tariff barriers, and to improve the movement of goods and services for the liberalisation of African trade. This came during the meeting of the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Negotiating Institutions held on Wednesday.
Africa accounts for 30% of petroleum production, 9% of the world’s water resources, besides its wealth in its human resources, 85% of which is youthful, as well as its mineral wealth and agricultural land. Yet, 35 African countries are classified as poor.
Kyambadde noted that despite these possibilities, the volume of the intra-African trade does not exceed 10%, compared to 67% between European countries.
The minister stressed on the need to focus on the problems related to connectivity and communications, the investment in technology, as well as pointed out the loan portfolio and soft financing as they are big challenges, especially for entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, she declared that the current period is witnessing the focus on the ratification by some countries to enter the AfCFTA, and the evaluation of the continental treaties which support the economic cooperation between African people, helping them reach the objectives of the sustainable development strategy by 2063.
From his part, Benedict Oramah, president of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said that the bank is working with the AU on some issues related to the AfCFTA, noting that the bank supports this agreement.
Oramah pointed out, “The free trade area allows further progress consequences for the agreement so we try to discuss solutions to manage the difficulties facing this agreement.”
He further elaborated that Afreximbank is using a system to allow trade flows into Africa. He pointed out that payments’ settlement platforms will increase by three times in 2020.
Moreover, Oramah stressed that the bank is working on the necessary training and the gateway to improve the access of African companies to the opportunities of intra-trade, pointing out the importance of achieving the free trade area to fill the gap in the laws.
It is important to assist African entities in requesting online funding, and we are working on the establishment of a monitoring and follow-up centre in Nigeria, he finally declared.