Posted: July 19, 2023
The North West businesspeople who attended the awareness workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement were inspired by the prospects of exporting their products to the rest of the continent under the agreement. The workshop was hosted in Rustenburg by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), in partnership with the North West Development Corporation (NWDC).
The workshop was the eighth in a series of workshops that the department is hosting throughout the country with the aim of exposing the country’s businesspeople to export opportunities that are presented by the AfCFTA. The theme of the workshops is “The Year of AfCFTA – Moving Towards the Acceleration of the AfCFTA Implementation”.
The appetite of the North West businesspeople was evidently whetted by the myriad benefits accruing from and a plethora of opportunities that trading under the agreement will create. These were reeled off by the Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Calvin Phume.
“There are unlimited benefits and opportunities offered by the AfCFTA. Through the elimination of tariffs and trade barriers, the agreement opens up vast markets of over 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of over $3.4 trillion. This means expanding our market access will enable our businesses to reach over 1.3 billion consumers across Africa. This will spark a surge in trade, allowing our entrepreneurs and enterprises to explore new market opportunities, boost exports, and increase revenue,” said Phume.
He added that the AfCFTA was a flagship project of Agenda 2063 aimed at creating a single African market for goods and services facilitated by free movement persons, capital, investment to deepen economic integration, promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality, industrialisation, agricultural development, food security, and structural transformation.
“This presents an unprecedented opportunity for our local businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their operations, access new markets, and attract investments,” emphasised Phume.
The workshop was also aimed at empowering the North West businesspeople by equipping them with information that will assist them to succeed in international trade. To this end, officials from numerous government agencies shared information on a variety of important international trade-related matters such as export regulations and standards; quality management systems; export control process and requirements; access to finance and export finance insurance solutions.
After the session, Rustenburg pig farmer Ms Ipeleng Thethe of Tsatlhago Piggery said the workshop was an eye-opener to her as she did not realise that there was so much assistance that government can provide companies with to trade internationally.
“I learnt that these export opportunities are not only for big businesses but small business entrepreneurs like us can also take advantage of them. The information was really empowering as we are also aiming to export to neighbouring countries as we grow. The presentation of the national department of agriculture provided quite a lot of valuable information related to us as pig farmers,” said Thethe.
Ms Neo Mohamed from RBK Technologies, which manufactures the Ntofotofo brand of toilet papers, said she was empowered to start preparing her company to export its products to the neighbouring countries, something she always thought was an impossible mission.
“From the presentations I learnt about the importance of adhering to both international and domestic quality standards if you want your products to be competitive and your business to be a success. We are really looking forward to getting our business ready to take advantage of the massive market that the AfCFTA will be providing us with,” added Mohamed.
Ms Maletsatsi Phogojane of Mumree Manufacturers that produces sauces, candles and mirrors said she was inspired to apply for an export and import permit that will enable her to start exporting her products.
“Presentations related to quality standards, access to finance and market access made me realise that we did not need to be a big company to start trading with other countries in the rest of Africa. The workshop was really informative and inspiring,” added Phogojane.
Mr Kabelo Lekalakala of Pitso Ostrich Farm engaging with officials and fellow businesspeople at the workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement was hosted in Rustenburg by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and the North West Development Corporation (NWDC).
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)