Picture: Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe and South African delegation at the 6th African Union Ministers of Trade. (Supplied).

CAPE TOWN - The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe attended the 6th African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting in Dakar, Senegal to receive an update from senior trade officials on the progress of outstanding negotiations of the AfCFTA as per the mandate of the AU Extraordinary Summit of Heads of States and Governments in March 2018

The meeting was attended by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Ministers. Notably, SACU comprises of five countries of Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini.

The AfCFTA is an opportunity for Africa to boost intra-Africa trade and attract investment. 

As a development integration approach, the AfCFTA seeks to address Africa’s current productive constraints and dependence on raw materials. 

It also seeks to alleviate the infrastructure deficit in Africa. At the meeting, the legally scrubbed Annexes of the Protocols to the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA and the disciplines on the modalities for Tariff Liberalisation was discussed. 

According to the Deputy Minister, the conclusion of the annexes to the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the annexes to the Protocol on Dispute Settlement is a significant achievement. “The conclusion of this work enables South Africa to rapidly commence domestic processes for signature of the AfCFTA”, “We must ensure that the disciplines on modalities for tariff liberation support the creation of commercially meaningful value-chains in Africa, such that we attract investment in job creating productive sectors”.

Meanwhile, the outcomes of the 6th AMOT meeting will be submitted and considered by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Mauritania in July this year. According to the dti, the AfCFTA will provide new export opportunities for South African products in West and North Africa. 

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