Cape Town, South Africa – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum comes to a close today in Cape Town, with South Africa’s Deputy President Paul Mashatile expected to deliver the closing address. The forum was a significant event that gathered experts, policymakers, and business leaders to discuss the implications and opportunities arising from the implementation of the AfCFTA .
The AfCFTA, launched on January 1, 2021, is one of the world’s largest international free trade areas and has the potential to significantly transform Africa’s economic landscape . The agreement aims to boost intra-African trade, integration, and economic development, with the goal of increasing trade between African countries from 16% to 60% by 2034 .
During the forum, various stakeholders shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities that the AfCFTA presents. Among the key topics discussed were the phasing out of 90% of tariffs on all goods traded between African Union member states over a 5 to 10-year period, which seeks to boost intra-African trade and investment in regional value chains .
Business leaders and policymakers emphasized the importance of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship in realizing the potential of the AfCFTA. They highlighted the need for improved infrastructure, harmonized trade policies, and the development of regional value chains to foster a more integrated and prosperous continent .
As the AfCFTA Business Forum concludes, the closing address by Deputy President Paul Mashatile is expected to outline the way forward for the implementation of the agreement and the key takeaways from the discussions held during the event. The success of the AfCFTA will depend on the collective efforts of all stakeholders involved, and the forum has provided a valuable platform for collaboration and strategizing to maximize the benefits of this ambitious trade initiative.