Chemicals, cosmetics sectors to benefit from AfCFTA

Thursday, October 5, 2023

The chemicals, cosmetics, plastics and pharmaceutical sectors are set to get acquainted with the benefits offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This will occur during the virtual workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will be hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) on Wednesday, 11 October 2023.

The dtic has already embarked on provincial awareness workshops, which provided a platform for information sharing with the private sector on the benefits offered under the agreement.

The workshops were also used to identify South African companies in various provinces, in the targeted sector masterplans and other priority sectors that have the capacity to export to the rest of the continent. 

More workshops focusing on different sectors are being organised.

The workshop seeks to engage the chemicals, cosmetics, plastics, and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as industry agencies, associations and export councils, including their members on the benefits of exporting under the AfCFTA.

According to the Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina, the interactive workshop is critical as it will afford the department an opportunity to provide a status update on the progress made in the development of the National Implementation Plan of the AfCFTA.

This also includes the establishment of the National Implementation Committee.

“The department will update the sectors on the role expected of them in the implementation of the AfCFTA and essentially obtain challenges that the sectors may be facing in accessing the market in the continent. Obtaining this intelligence will assist the department to unlock the bottlenecks that the sectors may be facing,” Gina said.

Additionally, the workshop seeks to communicate and engage with the private sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as women and youth-owned export ready businesses, on the status of the implementation of the AfCFTA, including opportunities for South African companies to participate in preferential trade beyond the Southern African region. 

“I am making a call to all these sectors to take advantage of the opportunities that the agreement is expected to unlock for companies.

“This agreement intends to create a large single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately USD3.4 trillion and we cannot lose out on it,” she said.

Gina describes the chemicals, cosmetics, plastics and pharmaceutical sectors as important to the South African economy as they play a critical role and are interwoven with the manufacturing sector which creates much needed employment.

South Africa is Africa’s largest market for cosmetics and personal care products.

In 2018, the sector recorded close to US$3.2bn in revenue. Imports of cosmetics have almost doubled in the last 10 years, presenting opportunities for localising production.

Against this backdrop, Gina says it is critical to support the sector and all others to produce locally and export to other markets particularly to the continent. This she says will reduce the import dependency and create more jobs. –