Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr. Wamkele Mene, has said that the successful implementation of the free trade pact will be a game-changer for the continent.
According to him, the reduced tariff regime under the AfCFTA will enable traders, exporters, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to transit their goods and products efficiently.
Speaking in an interview with journalists in Accra, at the weekend, Mene said: “The AfCFTA implementation will now witness a transit of goods to other countries in Africa at reduced tariffs and barriers and it is completely a game-changer on the African continent.”
He noted that all modali ties had been set in place for a smooth but cautious implementation of the free trade pact.
“Of course, it’s going to take a bit of time before we see the benefits as happens in every free trade agreement,” the secretary general stated.
He also disclosed that some 54 African Ministers of Trade would meet in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, by the end of this month to hold deliberations and set out a timeline for other trade-related protocols such as Women-In-Trade within the agreement.
“One of such protocols will be focused on Women-In-Trade and as you know it is very important to affirm the role of women in trade and also enhance from a legal standpoint, the role of Women-In-Trade and this protocol is of critical importance and so the Ministers of Trade will work out the modalities for that,” Wamkele explained.
The intra-African trade pact, which commenced on January 1, 2021, would witness 90 per cent of all goods traded enjoy a tariff-free regime from for all countries that have signed agreements and deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification.
With some 54 out of 55 African countries participating in the single trade market pact, the AfCFTA would have the largest number of member countries in any trade deal since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).