The Minister of Industrialisation & Trade Lucia Iipumbu praised the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area and what it could mean for Namibia but when it will realise has always been questioned.
During the Bank of Namibia’s 21st Annual Symposium, Iipumbu said the benefits of the AfCFTA would be an expansion of markets on the continent, removal of barriers to trade such as a reduction in import tariffs, simplification of customs procedures, harmonization of standards and institutional certainty is enhanced through this Agreement.
Iipumbu said the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3% by eliminating tariffs.
According to the world bank, The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.
The Minister said there was a slow start to the ratification process which was finally achieved on the 30th April 2019. Consequently, the Agreement was entered into force on 30 May 2019.
“The African Ministers of Trade are now preparing for the Extraordinary session of the AU Assembly which will usher in the commencement of trading scheduled for January
2021,” Iipumbu said.