Make informed choices to reap benefits presented by AfCFTA – RECs told

Wamkele Mene

Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, says to support the implementation processes of the Agreement, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) need to make informed choices about how to reap the benefits presented by the Agreement.

He said while making these choices, they should also manage the challenges that might be encountered during the implementation.

Mr Mene was speaking during the Second Coordination Meeting of the Heads/Chief Executive Officers of RECs on the Implementation of the AfCFTA in Arusha, Tanzania.

He said moreover, the implementation of the AfCFTA would likely influence future trade policies of the RECs.

The Secretary-General said the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement was by necessity, a complex and highly collaborative undertaking, drawing on the expertise and experience of all key stakeholders, including RECs.

He said in this regard, effective collaboration between the RECs and the AfCFTA Secretariat was necessary to ensure that the Agreement’s outcomes were consistent with regional advancements in trade integration made thus far and the projections for the future.

Mr Mene said, therefore, the coordination meetings offer them an opportunity to listen to one another, to better understand their areas of difference, and to work together to build consensus around common positions critical to their success at creating an African Economic Community.

He said they had already received instructions from the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union to take all necessary steps to ensure the effective implementation of the AfCFTA.

This will include facilitating commercially meaningful flow of goods and services under the AfCFTA preferential regime, across the continent.

“We were also instructed to develop a coordinated approach to the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement, with the existing RECs as building blocks,” he added.

Mr Liberata Mulamula, Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, said to have a meaningful implementation of the agreement, Tanzania needed to align its participation in the AfCFTA to that of the RECs as its member.

He said the initiative was in line with Article 5 (b) of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, which acknowledged RECs as the building blocks towards the establishment of the AfCFTA.

The Minister commended the initiatives being taken by the AfCFTA Secretariat and the CEOs of RECs for establishing this platform.

HE expressed the confidence that the framework would underpin the interface between the AfCFTA and RECs Free Trade Areas (FTAs) and laydown actionable policy proposals that would assist in ensuring coherent, coordinated and fully responsive collaboration between the AfCFTA and RECs, FTAs.

Source: GNA

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