The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create opportunities for the BRICS investment partners to develop infrastructure on the continent, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
South Africa, he says, sees an important role for the BRICS formation to contribute to these efforts.
The President made these remarks at a cocktail reception he hosted in honour of African Ambassadors accredited to Brazil. President Ramaphosa is in the South American country, where he is leading a South African delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit from 13 - 14 November 2019.
“We seek to build a more inclusive partnership between the leaders of BRICS countries and the elected leaders of African institutions. Apart from the BRICS Framework of Cooperation, BRICS countries have worked individually to promote cooperation and development with Africa,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa said the partnership pursued through the BRICS-Africa outreach is rooted in a firm belief in the political, economic and social potential of the African continent.
“It speaks to the promotion of peace and security, advancing industrial capacity and economic integration, and champions a people-centred approach to sustainable development.
“As African nations, there has never been a better time to deepen our collaboration to ensure the African Continental Free Trade Area, our most ambitious collective venture yet, is a success.”
This, he said, is an opportunity to grow the continent’s economies and to use its considerable collective resources to uplift citizens and improve their conditions.
“Together, we are working to grow the economies of African countries through innovation, infrastructure development and trade.”
Speaking on the pending countdown to the launch of the AfCFTA, the President was confident the agreement would, in addition to its economic impact, have far-reaching political, social, physical and international effects.
“On the economic front, it will improve access to existing markets and lead to the creation of new ones. The free flow of goods and services will enable African businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their horizons and unleash the industrial capability of the continent.
“The removal of trade barriers will lower prices and benefit consumers. Business costs will be reduced and business efficiency will be raised,” said President Ramaphosa.
On the political front, he said, the AfCFTA will help to consolidate the union among all African States and reduce the potential for conflict.
“From a social perspective, it is likely to result in a more cosmopolitan Africa as the greater movement of people and skills brings more people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities together,” he said.
He said the AfCFTA will also have a broader international impact as Africa will be able to deal with other trade blocs from a position of greater strength, able to demonstrate economies of scale.
As the incoming chair of the African Union next year, South Africa will put great emphasis on giving effect to the agreement on the Continental Free Trade Area. – SAnews.gov.za