AfCFTA: African Economic Blocs to Meet in Kigali to Explore Opportunities

Business executives from different African trading blocs are set to meet in Kigali next week, to draw strategies through which they can tap into opportunities offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The two-day meeting, according to the CEO of East African Business Council (EABC) John Bosco Kalisa, will bring together traders from the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC).

“As a follow up to the recommendations and action plan from the Accra meeting, the East African Business Council will meet in Kigali along with SADC and COMESA to jointly position themselves in the efforts towards preparing the private sector to benefit from the AfCFTA” Kalisa said.

He added, the meeting will also deliberate on the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) engagement framework with the African Business Council and active involvement in its operations and effective inclusion in its structures.

A joint RECs private sectors’ umbrella body had developed a report to be submitted to the first coordination meeting of the Heads of Regional Economic Communities on the implementation of AfCFTA.

The meeting provided an opportunity for business councils to engage and present the joint position paper on the execution road map for the private sector and how the private sector should be considered in the AfCFTA implementation process.

Recently, while presiding over the swearing-in of new cabinet ministers, President Paul Kagame encouraged the business community to tap into the enormous opportunities that Rwanda is bound to derive from the continental platform.

The blocs’ meeting is to develop a joint position paper on matters detailing the private sector involvement in the implementation of the AfCFTA, develop joint capacity building initiatives for the RECs Business Council members to enhance participation in the AfCFTA initiatives, as well as development of an Action Plan for collaboration between the Councils.

Rwanda was recently picked among countries set to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase that also involves six other countries.

The seven countries were selected from 36 countries that had expressed interest in trading under the pilot phase. Each of the applicants had submitted its tariff schedule.

Kalisa said traders will be reviewing the recommendation and outcomes from the AfCFTA meeting held on September 18-20, 2021 in Ghana.

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