Local businesses have been urged to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to open themselves up to the opportunities available on the continent. Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) executive director, Kebour Ghenna told a Small Business Exporters conference this week that Africa should find another way of fostering prosperity by building economic solidarity that can become the base for progressive
power needed to create a transformed African economy.
“If we don’t get busy making the AfCFTA work and opening back up to the continent, we’ll be left on the outside looking in,” he said. “An AfCFTA that does not embrace solidarity is doomed to fail and fail swiftly. “An AfCFTA that expands inequality and only empowers the rich economies of the world should not be acceptable.”
According to Ghenna, the business community in Africa is eager to benefit from an AfCFTA that is built on social cohesion and maximisation of social welfare. He said Africa has proved to be open for business and should be commended for adopting the AfCFTA with an eye to offering the private sector more commercial and investment opportunities.
For his part Business Botswana president, Gobusamang Keebine urged participants to take advantage of the conference to learn about AfCFTA’s benefits, as well as to seize the opportunity to actively expand their networks and uncover new business opportunities.
He said regional integration is necessary to ensure that long-term maintainable yielding strategies are in place. This is to ensure that economies forego the possibility of ending up in fragile states due to limited or diminishing resources, which for Botswana is particularly around the depletion of key minerals.
“A lot of details need to be flashed out for the AfCFTA to work not only in Botswana but Africa as a whole including but not limited to the exact tariff reductions. “Addressing non-tariff bottlenecks is also critical,” he said.
Botswana is one of 13 countries left on the continent that are yet to ratify the AfCFTA deal sealed by countries on the continent in 2018 in Rwanda. While Botswana signed the text of the 2018 agreement together with the majority of the continent, the country is still negotiating the final terms of how it wants to trade with Africa under the AfCFTA.
Local negotiators have said the outstanding issues include trade in goods, rules of origin, and trade in services.
Published By :- Mmegi Online
Published On :- May 20, 2022