The United Nations Commission for Africa (Uneca) says African Continental Free Trade Area offers a unique opportunity for the private sector to benefit immensely in terms of new markets, access to raw materials, technology and increasing economies of scale.
Andrew Mold, Uneca acting director in Eastern Africa said the trade deal itself is not, as the name suggests, simply a Free Trade Agreement but it is about creating a unified continental market.
He was speaking at the panel discussing Africa’s competitive advantages during the 21st Comesa International Trade Fair in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The focus on trade liberalisation is just the start. The Agreement itself is 78 pages long, and the annexes 124 pages long. Its protocols have a lot of implications for business—whether that is on investment, on competition, on intellectual property or free movement,” he said.
Mold said that is why it is important for countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) ratified and implemented the Tripartite Agreement between Comesa, Sadc and EAC, as a fundamental building block towards the completion of the AfCFTA.
The Summit, under the theme “Powering Regional Integration through Trade”, was opened by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. n