ZACCI urges government to speed up the implementation of AfCFTA

48597799226 97d884905e c 1The Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has urged the government to speed up the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The appeals were made during a workshop organised the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the Economic Commission for Africa’s Office for Southern Africa (ECA-SA) and African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC).

ZACCI President Chabuka Kabwesha advised the government to expedite the implementation of the trade agreement so that Zambia could begin to benefit from the continental market.

“The private sector supports Zambia’s planned ratification of the AfCFTA,” he added.

Kabwesha noted that the services sector and the sectoral linkages across national and regional value chains will grow equally in scale and demand, particularly for the SMEs. He thanked the government for the in-depth consultations on the AFCFTA and the national implementation strategy.

ECA regional director for southern Africa, Said Adejumobi, said that with the fast pace with which the AfCFTA project is moving, there is a need to keep the momentum and for Zambia to ratify the agreement.

“With Zambia’s national implementation strategy in place and multi-stakeholder engagements ongoing, we hope that Zambia will reach a national consensus and the AfCFTA will be ratified,” he noted.

Meanwhile, he cautioned that the AfCFTA National Strategy should not be turned into another document but should be a guiding compass that will ensure that Zambia becomes a significant player in the evolving regional economy and market of Africa.

Regarding the concerns around ratifying the agreement, Adejumobi noted, “The AfCFTA has come with a lot of expectations, aspirations, and opportunities, but also some concerns and fears about the unknown - about whether we are ready. Part of the concern is about the ability of local industries to compete within a liberalised regional market and about jobs associated with it and possible reduction in government revenue. However, fear is the enemy of progress.”

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