23 Nov 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 NOV (NAMPA) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has praised the proposed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, noting that it is beneficial to the continents development.
Speaking during the year-end address of her staff here on Friday, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the agreement symbolises the continents progress toward the ideal of African unity and integration.
I am pleased to inform that the Namibian Parliament has ratified this important continental trade framework, she said.
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.
It intends to reduce trade barriers and create a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment, which is expected to make it easier and cheaper for the African continent to export their products and services to trading partner markets.
The proposed AfCFTA is the largest free trade agreement in terms of participating countries since the creation of the World Trade Organisation.
So far, 49 countries have signed the agreement while 11 had already ratified it, including Namibia.
Meanwhile, Nandi-Ndaitwah also announced that Namibia is participating in the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) negotiations for the post 2020 Cotonou Cooperation Agreement.
Such negotiations began in October 2018, the minister said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia believes that the new comprehensive ACP-EU Agreement should be based on the context of todays economic and geopolitical realities and emerging challenges and opportunities guided by the African Union Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
Relations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are longstanding, dating back to before 1975 and the first Lomé convention.
The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement was signed on 23 June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin - hence the name - ACP-EU Partnership Agreement or Cotonou Agreement.
It was concluded for a 20-year period and will expire in February 2020.
The fundamental principles of the Cotonou Agreement include equality of partners, global participation (States and non-State actors), dialogue and regionalisation.