AfCTA to be centre of local government

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been welcomed as a progressive platform to stimulate the continent’s wide inclusive and sustainable industrial development, amounting to $450 billion of regional income.
The development was welcomed during a two-day hybrid inaugural dialogue of the AfCFTA in Sandton. The dialogue was hosted by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene, United Cities and Local Government of Africa Secretary-General, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Gauteng MEC of Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Development, Parks Tau, SALGA President Cllr Bheke Stofile and SALGA Gauteng PEC Chairperson, Cllr Jongisizwe Dlabathi, were among delegates at the event. Economists, policy and trade experts, as well as local government representatives were also in attendance.
On the AfCFTA negotiations and implications for Local Government, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Chief Director Niki Kruger said the World Bank anticipates that AfCFTA would boost regional income by 7% or $450 billion. It was also expected to accelerate wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.
Tau said the implementation of the AfCFTA treaty would take place at local government level.
Delivering the keynote address on Tuesday, Tau said it was “logical” that municipalities were “adequately capacitated and resourced to leverage the attendant opportunities from the Free Trade Agreement”.
He said: “Since this Free Trade Agreement signifies a game-changer, its impact rests in the integration of Africa into a single continental market for trade and exchange of goods and services with an accompanying free movement of entrepreneurs and enterprises.
“As the Gauteng Provincial Government, the objectives and intended outputs from the Free Trade Agreement certainly find practical expression through the Growing Gauteng Together 2030 (GGT2030) plan of action. This pragmatic provincial blueprint has specific action plans to expand intra-Africa trade, investment and commerce.”
Stofile said the agreement would “create a single market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments across borders, which will strengthen trade and intra-African investment and cooperation”.
It was estimated that the agreement would boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022, ultimately leading to the creation of an integrated African market and the realisation of the African Union Agenda 2063 towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
On Thursday, dialogue would zone in on innovative infrastructure financing.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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