BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
The signing the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by the Zambian government will go a long way in reducing the cost of doing business, says Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) centre coordinator Chenai Mukumba.
Ms Mukumba said the signed agreement was expected to yield great benefits for Zambia and the continent.
She observed that the move would liberalise trade of both goods and services for all African countries.
“CUTS is happy to note that Zambia will now work towards necessary processes required to ratify the agreement.
“In engaging with this agreement it is important that as a country we build productive alliances and the necessary capabilities for industry to take advantage of emerging opportunities, while minimizing negative impact such as job losses,” she said.
Ms Mukumba said there was no doubt that implementation of the AfCFTA would create both opportunities and challenges.
Ms Mukumba explained that the onus was on participating countries to take advantage of emerging opportunities, while minimising the cost of trade openness.
“The AfCFTA envisages liberalisation of both trade in goods and services in the first phase of negotiations, and will extend to investment, competition policy and intellectual property in the second phase,
“The decision to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area was taken during the eighteenth Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2012 when the Heads of State and government decided to establish a Pan- Africa Continental Free Trade Area by the indicative date of 2017,” Ms Mukumba said.
On February 10 2019, President Edgar Lungu signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, bringing the total number of signatories to 52.