The fifth African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Awareness Workshop held in Gqeberha yesterday brought together businesspeople across the Eastern Cape who were eager to share their export experiences and gain knowledge on the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.  The workshop was hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), in partnership with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).

The workshop was part of a series that the department is rolling out throughout the country from May-July 2023.

Speaking at the workshop, the owner of Qobo Qobo Essential Oils, Mr Tafara Shuro, said as an exporter of products to Asia and Europe, it has always been his dream to expand his business in the African market as it has a potential in terms of a young growing population and unlimited economic growth prospects.

“The AfCFTA is going to be a stepping stone for us to realise that dream.  We have no footprint in Africa at the moment, yet we know that it is a key developing market for our products.  The AfCFTA will provide a platform for accessing the African market,” said Shuro.

Shuro, whose company produces oils, acknowledged the techinicalities that comes with a trade agreement such as the AfCFTA.  He said they needed to do intensive research on the specific markets in Africa that will benefit their company and then form mutually beneficial partnerships to explore those opportunities.

According to the Managing Director of Mend A Bath International, Mr Ian Moore, the unstable freight services and high import duties in some African countries have made it difficult to do business in some countries in the continent.

“We are looking forward to accessing African countries that we do not do business with as yet.  The AfCFTA will assist us in reducing the landing costs. We manufacture sanitary ware and resurfacing materials, that are applied by trained operators.  Our biggest market is the hospitality industry like hotels, apartment blocks, holiday accommodation and also private homes,” said Moore.

The Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Calvin Phume said the Eastern Cape has an advantage in that they occupy the coastline and two of the biggest Special Economic Zones in the country, namely Coega and East London.

He said the AfCFTA presents a great opportunity for the province to showcase its capabilities and trade more within the continent.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

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