International Business News – At the recently concluded 4th African Union (AU) Mid-Year Coordination Meeting, the 13 African heads of state or government attending the meeting called on member states to further promote the construction of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA), and to be more active to implement the free trade area agreement, reduce intra-regional trade barriers and promote trade integration.
Important progress has been made in many fields
Mene, Secretary-General of the African Free Trade Area, said that so far, 39 countries have confirmed their approval of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to the African Union. The AU member states have reached a consensus on the tariff issue of more than 80% of goods of African origin, and have launched a dispute settlement mechanism. Furthermore, with the rapid development of e-commerce in Africa, stakeholders are mulling digital trade protocols.
At the beginning of this year, the African Free Trade Area Secretariat, together with the African Export-Import Bank and other institutions, officially launched the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System in Accra, the capital of Ghana, enabling African countries to use their own currencies to make timely, safe and fast payments on the African continent. The African continent saves $5 billion in payment costs.
Greatly promote intra-regional free trade
According to expert analysis, the continuous advancement of the construction of the African Free Trade Area is expected to release the great vitality of multi-field and multi-industry linkage development. Many African countries not only take infrastructure as a priority area for economic revitalization, but are also vigorously expanding new areas such as mobile communications, digital economy, clean energy, and smart cities.
At present, some African countries are actively responding to the call of the African Free Trade Area and implementing relevant policies. Not long ago, Nigeria officially launched a free trade zone, the Anyeba Economic City. Nigerian products processed or assembled in the Economic City can be sold to the entire African market in a tariff-free form.
Recently, the Digital Trade Corridor of the African Free Trade Area was announced, which aims to promote the development of African SMEs and create employment opportunities, and use a unified digital platform to promote African governments and enterprises to implement the African Free Trade Area Agreement.
It is expected to enhance the resilience of regional development
The analysis believes that the construction of the African Free Trade Area highlights the determination of African countries to promote economic transformation and is expected to enhance the resilience of regional economic development. The World Bank and the African Free Trade Area Secretariat jointly released a report on June 30 this year, stating that under the condition that the free trade area agreement is fully implemented and investment and competition are regulated, Africa is expected to increase its income by 571 billion US dollars by 2035. 10,000 jobs, pushing 2.5% of the workforce into emerging industries, thereby lifting 50 million people out of extreme poverty.
Samba, an economist from Senegal, believes that there are currently 8 regional economic cooperation organizations and more than 200 special economic zones on the African continent, enjoying tax relief, investment incentives and other policies. An important reference for mainland economic and trade integration.