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AfCFTA a complete game-changer on the African continent - Secretary-General

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Sun, 10 Jan 2021 Source:

Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Secretariat, Wamkele Mene has touted the successful implementation of the free trade pact as a game-changer for Africa.

According to him, the reduced tariff regime under the AfCFTA will enable traders, exporters, and small and medium enterprises to transit their goods and products efficiently.

Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb, Wamkele Mene explained, “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.”

Wamkele Mene however assured that all modalities have 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 expressed.

He also disclosed that some 54 African Ministers of Trade will meet in Ghana's capital city Accra by the end of January this year 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” Mr. Wamkele explained.

Meanwhile, trading on the AfCFTA was originally tipped to start on July 1, 2020, but suffered a setback as a result of the novel Coronavirus pandemic leading to the suspension of negotiations.

The Intra-African trade pact would witness 90 percent of all goods traded enjoy a tariff-free regime from January 1, 2021, 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 Organization.

Accra, Ghana currently serves as the Secretariat of AfCFTA and was commissioned and handed over to the African Union by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on August 17, 2020, in Accra.

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