Africa’s signature policy reform of 2018, the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), is set to unleash the continent’s full potential with more African countries trading with each other in a wider integrated market, says United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) executive secretary, Vera Songwe.
She said especially the extractive sector on the continent will benefit the most from the CFTA and could help with the transformation of Africa’s economies.
Songwe said this in her opening remarks to the 5th Annual Ministerial Symposium at the 2018 Mining Indaba that kicked off Monday in Cape Town, South Africa.
“The CFTA is a singular policy move that will actually help businesses, help the continent create more jobs and ensure that we create enough value on the continent and increase intra-African trade,” she told mining executives and others attending the indaba.
“When African countries trade with African countries more value is created and therefore we believe we can do more than that with the CFTA,” said Songwe, adding intra-African trade had increased from five percent in 2012 to 17 percent currently.
CFTA is expected to create a wider integrated market – which will have 1,5 billion people by 2030 with a potential GDP of $2,2 trillion dollars.
The symposium and its roundtable discussions focused on six main areas: Lack of Trust; Lack of Engagement; Capacity Deficit; Governance and Regulations Gaps; Inter-sectoral linkages; and the Need of greater engagement of the Financial Sector.