Rwandan trade minister urges action to implement AfCFTA

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Rwandan trade minister urges action to implement AfCFTA
Rwandan trade minister urges action to implement AfCFTA

Africa-Press – Rwanda. Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, has highlighted the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in promoting economic growth and integration on the continent.

Ngabitsinze who took part in a panel discussion on Thursday, May 24, the final day of the 11th National Security Symposium in Kigali, noted that the AfCFTA was established with good intentions, supportive laws, and a positive vision for the continent.

Ngabitsinze noted that the implementation of the AfCFTA, established by a 2018 agreement signed in Kigali, continued to witness delays.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze was speaking among panelists on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in promoting economic growth and integration on the continent.

“We need to come together as a continent, not only because AfCFTA is a good plan but also because we need to boost production, industrialization, and facilitate business through improved logistics,” he said.

Ngabitsinze highlighted the importance of implementing measures such as strengthening supply chains and prioritizing investment in digital platforms to reduce transaction costs and overall business expenses.

He noted, however, that although AfCFTA is highly beneficial for Africa it may not be viewed as positive by countries from other continents that may not favour Africa’s independence.

A participant gives his suggestion on the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in promoting economic growth and integration on the continent.

Implementing AfCFTA will be challenging, he noted, and Africa must be tough in its efforts.

“We must support our people with good projects that are sustainable and capable of withstanding economic shocks,” Ngabitsinze said, stressing the need for long-term economic planning. “Are we prepared for the next 30 years?”

The minister also highlighted the increasing intensity, technological advancement, and sophistication of conflicts, which impact economic growth.

“We have to work together in an integrated system where politicians, civilians, and the military work together, as they significantly impact the stabilisation of economies,” he added.

Donald Kaberuka, the Chairman and Managing Partner of SouthBridge, a pan-African advisory and investment company, emphasized that the AfCFTA is not merely about reducing tariffs. He pointed out that despite tariff reductions, intra-Africa trade remains limited due to various factors beyond infrastructure.

There are other issues to address, such as the movement of people, payment systems, and standards, noted Kaberuka. “These are areas we must focus on, particularly for those involved in trade.”

He explained that trade integration occurs at various levels, starting with a Preferential Trade Area, where tariffs are reduced. The next level is the AfCFTA, where tariffs are eliminated among member countries.

Kaberuka said issues like barriers to free movement of people and goods would need to be addressed before the AfCFTA starts to bear fruits.

“The real issues we need to address are those impeding trade, such as payment systems, visa regulations, harmonizing investment regulations, and the movement of people,” he said.

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