Continental Free Trade Area by 2017

23 Feb 2016 13:40pm
By Etuna Shikalepo
WINDHOEK, 23 FEB (NAMPA) – Efforts are underway to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which will allow international companies to use Namibia as a springboard to the fast growing African market.
The CFTA is aimed at creating decent and gainful employment opportunities for African citizens, and expedite the regional and continental integration processes, says Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko.
It also aims to resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships of African countries to various economic bodies.
The minister told Nampa recently the CFTA intends to expand intra-Africa trade trough better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Africa in general.
“Namibia will continue to offer vibrant investment and trade opportunities to the international companies as we are moving forward the establishment of CFTA by 2017.”
Ngatjizeko had previously announced Namibia's intention of setting up a CFTA. He made the statement during the United Kingdom (UK)'s Invest Africa networking session in the capital help earlier this month.
Invest Africa is a global business platform for business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to gain insight into Africa and to be exposed to the continent’s investment opportunities.
The Invest Africa networking session was held in the capital in honour of the UK business delegation, focusing on exploring investment opportunities in Namibia in areas such as agriculture, tourism, logistics, infrastructure, social housing, energy, mining, consumer goods and healthcare.
The CFTA will also enhance competitiveness at the industries and enterprises level through exploiting opportunities for large-scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
It will cover areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights, and competition policy.
Launched at the African Union Summit in January 2012, the goal of the CFTA by 2017 requires all African Union member states to implement an Action Plan for trade ministers to boost intra-African trade by about 25 per cent over the next decade, which currently stands at about 12 per cent, while trade with Europe and North America ranges from 30 to 40 per cent.