The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Fikile Majola says that the African Free Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) must be seen as a market integration pillar of the broader development integration agenda. He asserted that Integration is seen as essential to overcoming the limitations of small fragmented economies established under colonialism. Majola said this during his address to the Progressive Business Forum’s (PBF) webinar on trade opportunities for South African businesses in Africa, which took place today.

He added that the AfCFTA brought Africa a step closer to realising the historic vision of an integrated market in Africa and creating a basis for increasing intra-African trade.

“We must complement and consolidate parallel African Union work on infrastructure and industrial development pillars and build supply capacity to take advantage of more open African markets. We also need to take to heart that for sustainability and legitimacy to prevail, the benefits of the AfCFTA must be shared across all member states,” he said

Majola stressed that in as much as countries across the African continent were engaged in a battle to restore their economies in the midst of an ongoing onslaught from the COVID-19 pandemic, they must never neglect the will to be resilient economies.

“One of the instructive lessons learned from this crisis is that economic resilience is critical. It is critical to build up industrial capabilities, trade and supply chains across African countries. Greater supply-chain resilience needs to include efforts to spread risk by enabling the greater geographic spread of manufacturing. This resonates with bringing to fruition the goal of ‘Made in Africa’ initiative. We have to seize the opportunity presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is aimed at boosting intra-Africa trade,” said Majola.

The Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Mr Wamkele Mene called for the acceleration of Africa’s industrial development without disconnecting from the rest of the continent, and called also for a single set of rules for trade and investment on the African continent.

“This AfCFTA agreement captures the future of the African economy, and we must strive for a focus on connecting Small and Medium Enterprises to digital platforms to the extent that tariff liberalization is properly sequenced and calibrated to active industrial development measures, the process can support wider economic development and growth,” he said.

Sidwell Medupe
Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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