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Africa’s finance ministers reaffirm commitment to AfCFTA

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Finance ministers and policy makers from across the continent have reaffirmed their commitment to the African Consolidated Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

 

The Ministers, who stated this at the 51st session of the Council of Ministers hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), called for governments to ensure they make the policies and investments necessary to capture the economic benefits of the proposed trading bloc.

 

A ministerial statement from the meeting recognised the potential of the AfCTA to advance industrialisation, economic diversification and development to foster prosperity for all on the continent.

 

It also, however, recognised the challenges including concerns over the impact upon the tax base arising from a single continental market for goods and services.

 

According to the statement: “The short-term impact is likely to be minimal and will be outweighed in the medium and long term by the positive impacts of revenue from other sources of taxes.”

 

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the ECA, reaffirmed the commitment of her organisation to support governments moving towards economic integration through its convening, thought process and operational functions. She commented, “Africa is waiting. Our challenges are huge but we are on the way to solving them through the AfCFTA.”

 

The meeting forms part of wider consultations on the historic AfCFTA deal that was signed by 44 Presidents and government leaders in Kigali (Rwanda) in March 2018.

 

Countries will now be required to ratify and implement the legal instruments of the agreement that would create a trade bloc with a combined gross domestic product of more than $3 trillion together with an additional 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs according to the African Union.

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