by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE African Union (AU) is upbeat ahead of the commencement of trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 1.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the AU chairperson and President of South Africa, expressed the continent’s buoyancy during the 13th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the bloc.
He lauded the commencement of trading under AfCFTA as one of the most significant milestones in the continental integration project.
“It will be the clearest affirmation yet that Africa is determined to take charge of its own destiny, and that its success and development is fundamentally tied to harnessing the potential and energies of her citizens,” Ramaphosa stated.
He said the AfCFTA would boost intra-African trade, promote industrialisation and competitiveness and contribute to job creation and unleash regional value chains that would facilitate Africa’s meaningful integration into the global economy.
Ramaphosa said the AfCFTA presented immense opportunities for the private sector in Africa, and would be a catalyst for the development and expansion of private enterprise.
He said the AU must use the AfCFTA to advance the empowerment of Africa’s women, one of the most important objectives of Agenda 2063.
In conclusion, Ramaphosa acknowledged and appreciated the critical role played by the heads of state and government for their continued support towards the realisation of the flagship project.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
AfCFTA will bring together all 55 member states of the AU covering a market of more than 1,2 billion people.
– CAJ News