South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (dti) participated in the sixth African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting in Senegal, which took place on Sunday.
The meeting considered, among others, the legally scrubbed Annexes of the Protocols to the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (Caftan), the disciplines on the modalities for Tariff Liberalisation, as well as the priority sectors for Trade in Services.
Dti Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe, who represented South Africa at the meeting, said the conclusion of the annexes to the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the annexes to the Protocol on Dispute Settlement is a significant achievement.
“The conclusion of this work enables South Africa to rapidly commence domestic processes for signature of the AfCFTA [African Continental Free Trade Area].
“We must ensure that the disciplines on modalities for tariff liberation support the creation of commercially meaningful value chains in Africa, such that we attract investment in job creating productive sectors,” Magwanishe said.
In March, Tshwane held off on signing the actual agreement until legal and other instruments associated with AfCFTA were processed and ratified by South African stakeholders and Parliament.
The AU meeting was preceded by the 11th Meeting of the AfCFTA Negotiations Forum and the sixth meeting of the AfCFTA Committee of Senior Officials of Trade.
Held in Dakar, the sixth AMOT follows the launch of the Caftan during the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government held on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The summit resulted in the signing of the Caftan Agreement by 44 countries and the signing of the Declaration establishing the Caftan by 43 countries. To date, Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana have ratified the Caftan Agreement.
Meanwhile, the outcomes of the sixth AMOT meeting will be submitted and considered by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held in Mauritania in July 2018.
AfCFTA offers an opportunity to create larger economies of scale, a bigger market and improve the prospects of the African continent to attract investment.
“South Africa is, therefore, committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over one billion people with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately US$3.3 trillion.
“Beyond the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), AfCFTA will provide new export opportunities for South African products in West Africa and North Africa,” said the dti. – SAnews.gov.za