AfCFTA Provides Huge Opportunities for Expanding, Diversifying Exports

Addis Ababa: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will provide huge opportunities for expanding and diversifying exports and imports of the continent, UNECA Macroeconomics and Governance Division Director Adam Elhiraika said. The AfCFTA is the world's largest free trade area with 55 signatory countries and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs). AfCFTA is aimed at enabling the free flow of goods and services across the continent and boosting the trading position of Africa in the global market.? In an exclusive interview with ENA, UNECA Macroeconomics and Governance Division Director Elhiraika said we need to continue to increase exports globally. The director stressed the need to increase not just the value of export but also the quality of exports. 'We should add value to our primary commodities and try to produce as much as the goods we import domestically.' So, industrialization and value addition efforts should be enhanced and there is also need to look at the regional markets in Af rica as there are a lot of opportunities to increase trade regionally. For the director, moving forward, growth and development in Africa will increasingly rely on how we implement the continental free trade area. As part of its mandate, the AfCFTA targets to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade. In particular, it is meant to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African economy. 'We need to expand exports, diversify exports and imports, so the continental free trade area agreement will provide huge opportunities for us to do that.' Regarding the significance of focusing on domestic drivers for Africa's overall growth, the director stressed that the focus in Africa should in particular be more on domestic drivers of growth. Especially governments need to have expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, even at a time when the continent has to deal with inflation and instability, he underlined. 'We have to look at sources of growth and how to enhance gr owth through increasing domestic expenditure on infrastructure and to attract more domestic and foreign investments.' Ethiopian News Agency