Posted: May 25, 2023
A number of businesspeople attending the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provincial workshop in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal welcomed the progress and benefits that the AfCFTA will afford their businesses and export opportunities once implemented.
During their engagements with officials from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) today, companies doing business in the continent highlighted some of the challenges they encounter in the movement of goods and servives around Africa.
Issues regarding the cost of doing business in African regions, competitiveness, excessive imports from China, lack of manufacturing support, and energy security were raised and discussed for government intervention and support.
Addressing delegates at the workshop, the Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Calvin Phume said today’s workshop served as a crucial platform for fostering awareness and understanding of the AfCFTA among the private sector in KZN, including Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), as well as women and youth owned enterprises.
“It is a testament to our dedication as government to ensuring that all regions and communities are well-informed and actively participate in this landmark initiative. By providing you with the necessary knowledge and insights, we aim to empower you to seize the abundant opportunities and benefits that the AfCFTA offers,” said Phume.
He further said the AfCFTA represents a remarkable achievement symbolising Africa’s collective commitment to harnessing the potential of trade to drive growth, create jobs, and uplift the lives of millions of people across the continent.
“While the AfCFTA promises numerous benefits, we must also acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. We need to address infrastructure gaps, enhance logistics and transportation networks, strengthen regulatory frameworks, and build the necessary capacities to fully exploit the potential of the agreement. This workshop serves as a platform for dialogue and collaboration, enabling us to identify and overcome these challenges together,” he said.
Speaking at the same workshop, the Executive Manager of Export Promotion at TIKZN, Mr Claude Moodley said as of 2021, KwaZulu-Natal’s total exports to Africa from R20.7 billion in 2020 to R51.8 billion 2021.
“It makes sense for KwaZulu-Natal enterprises to export to markets in Africa, particularly those further north on the continent. Our province’s businesses should capitalise on important competitive advantages and other benefits that have always been the core of our industries given the growth potential, rapidly developing economies, and growing consumer base,” said Moodley.
On the spillover benefits of intra-African trade for the province’s businesses, Moodley said their companies on the continent would gain from trade diversification, which enables nations to develop resilience to swing in demand brought on by economic downturns and price adjustments in importing nations.
The Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Calvin Phume speaking during the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provincial workshop in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)