KIGALi, RWANDA- Most Presidents have been applauded by their respective countries for the signing of the Kigali Declaration, as a first step towards establishing a Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
It is said this agreement will give effect to a new era of intra-Africa trade and presents significant opportunities for Cape exporters.
One of them is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who was applauded by the Cape Town based Tourism promotion agency WESGRO.
According to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the AfCTA is expected to bring together the 55 member states of the AU, establishing a market of more than 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion. The AfCTFA will be a process of liberalisation of trade and services among member states. The ECA expects the AfCFTA to increase intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.
Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, said: “This is a historic moment for Africa. The consolidation of the continent into a single and open market holds unprecedented opportunity for intra-Africa trade and investment.
“Africa as a continent is projected to have a population of 2.5 billion and an economy estimated to grow at double the rate of developed economies by 2050. If we work now to position Cape Town and the Western Cape as the gateway to these opportunities, we will benefit from this projected growth, and help ensure our own economy grows inclusively, creating jobs for our citizens."
Harris further stated that the private sector should make the most of the opportunities for stakeholder engagement presented under AfCTFA. “The AfCFTA Business Forum establishes a platform for private sector engagement, with the aim of building partnership between African policymakers and business leaders and ensuring a trade agreement that can be effectively implemented."
Yaw Peprah, Chief Business Officer said: "Africa is a priority market for Western Cape exporters, already the single-biggest market for Cape goods. Wesgro has also been given a mandate to achieve Outward Foreign Direct Investment into the rest of Africa. We look forward to working with the provincial and national government to ensure sufficient representation of Western Cape business and stakeholders in this process."
"Wesgro actively engages with exporters and businesses around opportunities presented by trade agreements, and will be holding information sessions around the AfCFTA" concluded Harris.
Countries that signed Kigali pact
1.Niger – President Mahamadou Issoufou
2.Rwanda – President Paul Kagame
3.Tchad – President Idriss Déby
4.Angola – President João Lourenço
5.Central African Republic – President Faustin-Archange Touadéra
6. Comoros – President Azali Assoumani
7. The Republic of Congo – President Denis Sassou Nguesso
8. Djibouti – President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh
9. Ghana – President Nana Akufo-Addo
10. Gambia – President Adama Barrow
11. Gabon – President Ali Bongo Ondimba
12. Kenya – President Uhuru Kenyatta
13. Mozambique – Filipe Nyusi
14. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – President Mohamed Abdelaziz
15. Senegal – Prresident Macky Sall
16. South Africa – President Cyril Ramaphosa
17. Sudan – President Omar al-Bashir
18. Mauritania – President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
19.Zimbabwe – President Emmerson Mnangagwa
20. Cote D'ivoire – Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan
21.Seychelles –Vincent Meriton – Vice President
22. Algeria –Ahmed Ouyahia – Prime Minister
23.Equatorial Guinea – Francisco Pascual Obama Asue – Prime Minister
24.Lesotho – Tom Thabane – Prime Minister
25. Morocco – Saadeddine Othmani – Prime Minister
26. Swaziland – Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister
27. Tanzania – Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister
28.Tunisia – Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister
29.Benin – Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister for Foreign Affairs
30. Burkina Faso – Alpha Barry, Minister for Foreign Affairs
31. Democratic Republic of Congo – Léonard Okitundu, Minister for Foreign Affairs
32. Guinea – Mamadi Touré, Foreign Affairs Minister
33. Liberia – Gbehzohngar Findley, Foreign Affairs Minister
34.Mali – Minister for Foreign Affairs
35. Somalia – Minister for Foreign Affairs
36. South Sudan – Minister for Foreign Affairs
37. Uganda – Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs
38. São Tomé and Príncipe – Cabinet Minister
39. Togo – Minister for Cooperation and Integration
40. Malawi – Emmanuel Fabiano, Foreign Affairs Minister
41. Cameroon – Finance Minister
42.Cape Verde –Tourism, Industry and Energy Minister
43. Libya – Mohamed Taha Siala, Minister of Foreign Affairs
44. Madagascar – Henry Rabary Njaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs
45. Zambia* – Joe Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs
46. Egypt – Tarek Kabil, Trade & Industry Minister
47. Mauritius – Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Foreign Affairs Minister
48. Ethiopia – Bekele Bulado, Trade Trade
49. Namibia* – Minister of Industrialization
50. Botswana* – Minister for Trade