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Action plan adopted to push key policy on intra-African trade

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BorderAn action plan has been adopted to accelerate intra-African trade on the continent, an African Union official has said.

The plan to help implement the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2017 is known as Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT).

Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, made this known during a media encounter January 22, 2013 in Addis Ababa.

According to Mrs Acyl, the action plan has seven clusters aimed at reporting on the constraints identified.

The action plan was said to have been laid out and deliberated upon during the Second Africa Trade Forum held in September 2012 in Ethiopia.

The AU trade chief disclosed that preliminary actions such as the establishment of the Trade Observatory and the African Business Council have been undertaken.

She indicated that a meeting will be held January 26 on the margins of the AU Summit to review the progress made in respect to both BIAT and CFTA.

The creation of a CFTA is expected to provide the basis for establishing a continental Customs Union and eventually the setting up of the African Common Market would substantially expand intra-African trade by breaking down tariffs and non-tariffs barriers, and enhancing mutually advantageous commercial relations through trade liberalization schemes.

African trade officials say the grand African CFTA will unleash the entrepreneurial dynamism and spirit across a continent without trade barriers and will represent an excellent opportunity for accelerating the achievement of the continental vision of an African Economic Community.

Over the past decade trade amongst African nations is estimated at about 10 – 12%.

By Ekow Quandzie

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