ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
African finance ministers and policy makers on
Tuesday wrapped up their 5-day conference in Ethiopia’s capital
Addis Ababa reaffirming their commitment to the African
continental free trade area (AfCFTA).
Under the theme
“African Continental Free Trade Area: Creating fiscal space for
jobs and economic diversification”, the conference deliberated
on issues related among others to agriculture, infrastructure,
illicit financial flows, and an integrated strategy for the
pivotal role of the private sector in pushing the AfCFTA
forward, the conference of the UN Economic Commission for Africa
(ECA) has called for concerted and common approach to advance
The conference has
urged policies and investments necessary to capture the economic
benefits of the proposed trading bloc.
The ministers have
reiterated the potential of the AfCFTA to advance
industrialization, economic diversification and development to
foster prosperity for all on the continent.
It has also
recognized the challenges including concerns over the impact
upon the tax base arising from a single continental market for
goods and services.
impact is likely to be minimal and will be outweighed in the
medium and long term by the positive impacts of revenue from
other sources of taxes,” said a ministerial statement of the 51st
session of the Council of Ministers.
Indicating that the
new sources would arise from economic growth and diversification
from trading in a bloc of 1.2 billion consumers, the ministers
have urged simplified trade regimes for informal cross-border
traders and upgraded trans-boundary infrastructure to facilitate
Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, reaffirmed the commitment of
her organization to support governments in moving towards
economic integration through its convening, thought process and
recognized the preeminent role of human and institutional
capacity building that would enable the AfCFTA to meet many of
the continent’s development needs.
“Africa is waiting.
Our challenges are huge but we are on the way to solving them
through the AfCFTA,” noted the Executive Secretary.
The meeting forms
part of wider consultations on the historic deal that was signed
by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018.
Kenya and Ghana have
already ratified the AfCFTA agreement and documented the
ratification to the African Union (AU).
Other countries will
be required to ratify and implement the legal instruments of the
agreement that would create a trade bloc with a combined gross
domestic product of more than 3 trillion U.S. dollars together
with an additional 300,000 direct and 2 million indirect jobs,
according to the African Union (AU).
A minimum of 22
ratifications are required to enable the agreement to get into