The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe attended the 6th African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting in Dakar, Senegal. The meeting was preceded by the 11th Meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Negotiations Forum and the 6th Meeting of the AfCFTA Committee of Senior Officials of Trade. As per the recommendation of the Senior Trade Officials, Minister considered amongst others the legally scrubbed Annexes of the Protocols to the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA and the disciplines on the modalities for Tariff Liberalisation.
Deputy Minister Magwanishe said that the conclusion of the annexes to the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the annexes to the Protocol on Dispute Settlement is a significant achievement.
"The conclusion of this work enables South Africa to rapidly commence domestic processes for signature of the AfCFTA",
"We must ensure that the disciplines on modalities for tariff liberation support the creation of commercially meaningful value-chains in Africa, such that we attract investment in job creating productive sectors".
The outcomes of the 6th AMOT meeting will be submitted and considered by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held in Mauritania in July 2018. On 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, an Extraâ€“Ordinary Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government resulted in the signing of the AfCFTA Agreement by forty-four (44) countries and the signing of the Declaration establishing the AfCFTA by forty-three (43) countries.
The AfCFTA offers an opportunity to create larger economies of scale, a bigger market and improve the prospects of the African continent to attract investment. South Africa is, therefore, committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over 1 billion people with a GDP of approximately US$3.3 trillion. Beyond the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), the AfCFTA will provide new export opportunities for South African products in West Africa and North Africa.
The AfCFTA is being pursued under the development integration approach that combines market integration with industrial and infrastructure development to ensure that we address Africa's productive capacity and supply side constraints, promote the diversification of Africa's export base from dependence on raw materials to value added products, as well as alleviate the infrastructure deficit in Africa.