FORMER AFDB PRESIDENT HAILS AFRICAN FREE TRADE AREA AS ‘MOST IMPORTANT LANDMARK’ SINCE 1960

KIGALI, The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is “the most important landmark” in African history since 1960, said Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), on Saturday.

African governments should fully embrace it, the economist told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

“Free continental free trade area means prosperity for Africans. We are going to see trade between African countries thriving at a faster pace than ever before,” said Kaberuka.

“The most important thing remaining is ratification and I am sure majority African countries will ratify,” he said.

Africa shall have to deal with the existing barriers to trade on the continent after the ratification, he added.

Kaberuka noted that the free trade area will significantly contribute to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, employment generation and will accelerate Africa’s integration.

The decision to form the AfCFTA was adopted in January 2012 during the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) while AfCFTA negotiations were launched by the AU in 2015.

The AfCFTA is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of businesses and investments. This, according to the AU, will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK