AU Extraordinary Summit on African Continental Free Trade Area
African Continental Free Trade Area, 'Important Step' Towards Achieving SDGs: UN Chief
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the signing of a continental free trade agreement in Africa that has created one of the world’s largest trading blocs with over 50 countries.
“I congratulate African leaders for taking the leap into history by signing the African Continental Free Trade Area,” said Guterres in a statement on Thursday.
“This is an important step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering on the African agenda of peace and prosperity.”
According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Organization’s development arm in the region, the agreement has the potential both to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by eliminating import duties, and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
It is expected that the key beneficiaries from the Free Trade Area will be Africa’s small and medium sized enterprises, which account for 80 per cent of the region’s businesses; women, who represent 70 per cent of the informal cross-border traders; and the youth, who will be able to find new employment opportunities.
MAP 22 March 2018
HM the King: Launch of African Continental Free Trade Area Is Critical Step Towards Achievement of Multifaceted Development in Africa
The launching, today, of the African Continental Free Trade Area is a critical step towards the achievement of multifaceted development in Africa, said HM King Mohammed VI, underlining that the AfCFTA is "an initiative by Africa, for Africa."
In a speech to the Extraordinary Summit of heads of state and government of the African Union on the Continental Free Trade Area, held in the Rwandan capital, the sovereign said that "the creation of the largest free trade area in the world, with the youngest population on the planet, is a landmark event which attests to our shared determination to build an Africa for the future."
"This initiative expands and builds on the countless measures taken by our respective countries to promote intra-African trade. It will boost investment, stimulate economic growth, enhance continental interconnectivity and inject fresh momentum into African integration," HM the King stressed.
This is a pragmatic step towards an integrated, prosperous Africa which is attuned to international realities, the sovereign noted.
Recalling that 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for the Economic Development of Africa and the 1991 Abuja Treaty established Regional Economic Communities which have served as the bedrock of African integration, HM the King underscored that "today, the path towards the actual establishment of a continental free trade area is virtually mapped out thanks to the undeniable progress achieved in this area by those Communities, some of which are already considering customs union protocols."
The monarch said that, "in Morocco, experience has taught us that the open market economy and the establishment of free trade areas, with partners from the North and the South alike, often give rise to legitimate concerns and create certain challenges which must be tackled through appropriate mechanisms."
Once those concerns and challenges are addressed, it becomes clear that economic openness has many benefits and translates into gains for the national economy, contributing to the emergence of new value chains, HM the King added, considering that impeding such a dynamic, at continental level, would delay Africa's rise and hamper its competitiveness and development.
The sovereign affirmed that Morocco believes in a kind of co-development which is based on intra-African cooperation, economic complementarity, active solidarity and the pooling of resources and efforts.
"These are prerequisites for any inclusive growth and for sustainable human development on the Continent," HM the King insisted, noting that the goal, ultimately, is to transform Africa into a dynamic force and to make it a major player on the international scene for the benefit of our populations.
"To promote progress in Africa and boost intra-African trade, we need to build on the technological development the world has witnessed and to turn our intra-African trade deficit into opportunities for the development of new digital technologies," the sovereign underscored, adding that, "spurred on by young people's ingenuity, creativity and audacity, digital technology is changing the face of our Continent."
"This digital quantum leap to young startups operating in the fields of finance, telecommunications, industry and agribusiness, to name but a few. Often, those behind this innovative process are young people from low-income segments of the population. Our young people ought, therefore, to take center stage in our public policies," HM the King said.
His Majesty noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area is a key instrument for the promotion of this new economic development paradigm centered on innovation, diversification and exchange rooted in solidarity.
"The upcoming free trade area is no longer a fantasy or a mere project," HM the King pointed out, saying that the results achieved were arrived at in a spirit of compromise; not only are they balanced, but they also reflect the expectations and concerns of all parties.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and dynamism which characterized the rounds of negotiation, we have been able to consider free trade in 90 per cent of goods, the sovereign underlined, saying that, through this initial tangible achievement, all the States involved are showing their desire to work towards an opening up and expansion of markets, while making sure the particularities of domestic economies are respected, especially the protection of infant industries and the economic activities involving vulnerable populations.
"We need to build on that same spirit when conducting future negotiations on equally important issues, such as those relating to fair competition, compliance with intellectual property rules and the promotion of investment," the sovereign insisted.
"To shape the Africa of the future - one that takes back its destiny into its own hands - we have had to go through countless stages and, to be sure, many others still lie ahead. We must see the whole process through in order to make sure that our economic development no longer hinges, in any way, on external players or considerations," HM the King concluded.
MAP 21 March 2018
Setting up of AfCFTA is in Line with African Vision of HM the King (FM)
The setting up of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is in line with the African vision of HM King Mohammed VI, said, Wednesday in Kigali, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita, on the sidelines of his participation in the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU).
On the high instruction of HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco has today signed the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, Bourita told reporters, noting that the Kingdom was keen to be among the first countries to be part of this historic moment that Africa is witnessing.
In this regard, Bourita pointed out that this moment is in total convergence with HM the King's African vision, recalling that the Sovereign had called on Africa, in the founding speech of Abidjan in February 2014, to undertake concrete actions and to progress towards a pragmatic construction whose advantages would benefit African populations.
The signing by the AU Heads of State and Government of the agreement on the Continental Free Trade Area goes in this direction, as does the gas pipeline project linking Morocco and Nigeria as well as the Tangier-Lagos road, he stressed, noting that its implementation will be based on regional economic communities, which are called upon to play a significant role in promoting integration.
Morocco, at the level of the African continent, is part of two communities, namely the AMU and the CEN-SAD, added the minister, noting that it is from these two regional groupings that the Kingdom will contribute to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Bourita also pointed out that the member countries of the regional communities will have to play a concrete role in the construction of this free trade area, whose entry into force requires the ratification of the agreement by at least 22 member States.
The minister also stressed that Morocco has ensured during the negotiation and signing of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area that its strategic interests and the most important elements of its foreign policy are preserved.
MAP 21 March 2018
Morocco, Rwanda Review Projects, Agreements Inked During Royal Visit to Kigali
Morocco and Rwanda reviewed, on Wednesday in Kigali, the progress of projects and agreements signed during the visit, in October 2016, by HM King Mohammed VI to the Rwandan capital.
The two countries discussed in depth the progress of these projects during a meeting held on the sidelines of the Business Forum and the AU extraordinary Summit on a continental free trade area.
This working meeting brought together Minister Delegate for African Cooperation Mohcine Jazouli, and President and CEO of the Development Council of Rwanda Clare Akamanzi.
The meeting was attended by Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Rkia Derham and President of Moroccan employers' association (CGEM) Miriem Bensaleh-Cheqroun.
MAP 21 March 2018
Morocco Signs Agreement on African Continental Free Trade Area
Morocco signed on Wednesday an agreement that will launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), at the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) held in Kigali.
The agreement was signed by Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, who leads the Moroccan delegation to the AU Summit.
Speaking at the opening of the summit, AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged African heads of State and Government to sign this landmark agreement.
The Free Trade Area will result in the establishment of a market of over one billion two hundred million people, with a combined gross product of over three trillion dollars.
The AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, the African Union’s long-term vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
MAP 21 March 2018
AU Extraordinary Summit on African Continental Free Trade Area Kicks Off in Kigali with Participation of Morocco
The Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opened on Wednesday in Kigali, with the participation of Morocco.
The Moroccan delegation to this summit is led by Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, and includes Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, Minister Delegate for African Cooperation Mohcine Jazouli, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Rkia Derham and President of Moroccan employers' association (CGEM), Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun.
The Kigali Summit will be marked by the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, the African Union’s long-term vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
According to the AU, intra-Africa trade stands at about 16%, compared with 19% intra-regional trade in Latin America, 51% in Asia, 54% in North America and 70% in Europe. The United Nations Economic for Africa estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-Africa trade by 53% by eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers. It could create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.
MAP 21 March 2018