INTERNATIONAL – Zimbabwe's private sector actors on Wednesday reiterated readiness to fully seize various opportunities presented by the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
The statement was made by Christopher Mugaga, Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, during a joint high-level workshop organized by the African Union (AU) Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the government of Zimbabwe to sensitize the country's private sector on the AfCFTA.
"We are for the AfCFTA. As you know Zimbabwe's private sector pushed for ratification of the agreement. It is therefore important for us to remain seized with ensuring that our government continues to address issues to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
This will ensure that we reap the benefits that will come with the AfCFTA," an ECA statement quoted Mugaga as saying.
Mugaga also noted that the value addition of Africa's resources will help the continent in its quest for economic transformation, which in turn will change the lives of its citizens for the better.
"The value addition, coupled with increased intra-African trade and a continent speaking with one voice, will no doubt see Africa scaling to dizzy heights in terms of sustainable development," said Mugaga.
He also lauded Africa's increasing ability to speak with one voice on global issues, as seen with the AfCFTA, saying "this is crucial if the continent is to continue transforming and become a major player in the global arena."
"We cannot afford to continue speaking with many voices as a continent. It weakens us on the negotiating table that is why we continue to emphasize the importance of us speaking with one voice," said Mugaga, noting that the benefits of intra-African trade could not be overemphasized.
According to the ECA, the private sector sensitization meeting "will tackle topics that will help the business community understand the AfCFTA Agreement, the protocol on trade in goods, dispute settlement, Zimbabwe's emerging schedule of tariff concessions (CTC), as well as understanding the protocol on trade in services and the ancillary instruments of the AfCFTA."
The national meeting to sensitize Zimbabwe's private sector on the AfCFTA was held on the margins of the high-level AfCFTA Strategy Validation Workshop for Zimbabwe, which runs from October 2 to 3 under the theme – "Expanding Industrial and Trade Growth through the AfCFTA," it was noted.
AfCFTA Strategy Validation Workshop for Zimbabwe, among other things, aims to review and finalize Zimbabwe's AfCFTA strategy and its implementation plan, according to the ECA.
The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30 this year for those countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification before this date.
Including Zimbabwe, 27 AU member countries have so far deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification to the AU Commission.