19 Nov 2018 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 19 NOV (NAMPA) The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM)s Elma Dienda has thrown her weight behind the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), noting that this move would provide immense benefit to Namibia.
She said the reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment will make it easier for the African continent to export their products and services to trading partner markets.
Dienda made the remarks in her contribution on the agreement establishing the AfCFTA in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The main objective of the African Continental Free Trade Area is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
The agreement was signed on 21 March 2018 by African leaders in Kigali, Rwanda.
Dienda congratulated African leaders for the initiative, in which 49 countries signed the agreement while 10 had already ratified it.
At least 22 countries should ratify the agreement to establish the AfCFTA before it could come into force.
Namibia is currently debating the matter in Parliament on whether to ratify the agreement or not, following its signing of the same agreement earlier this year along with other African countries.
Supporting the ratification of the agreement, Dienda said the single continental market will offer the opportunity to accelerate the manufacture and intra-African trade of value-added products, moving from commodity to economic diversification and high-value exports.
Through this agreement, our governments must create enabling conditions to ensure that productivity is elevated to international competitiveness standards, she said.
She noted that to achieve the best results from the purported AfCFTA, African governments must therefore also make sure that products manufactured in African countries are competitively traded on the continent and abroad.
Dienda said while local producers may struggle with increased competition in a continental free trade area, they would also acquire a great expanded market to potential customers.
The reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment will make it easier and cheaper for the African continent to export their products and services to trading partner markets, she said.
The proposed African Continental Free Trade Area is the largest free trade agreement in terms of participating countries since the creation of the World Trade Organisation.