Johannesburg, 27 August 2017 – The creation of a single market for goods and services through the much-anticipated Continental Free Trade Area will create enormous opportunities for manufacturers in the continent, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said today.
The 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017. At the Summit, the AU also adopted the Action Plan on Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) with seven clusters – trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor market integration.
Speaking ahead of the 3rd Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba – to be held from 14 -15 September 2017 at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton – Mr Nyatsumba said if African leaders were serious about trade and economic integration, they should act with speed in the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area.
“The Continental Free Trade Area is an important step in the continent’s desired transition from reliance on exports of raw materials to manufactured products. The downturn in commodities has exposed the fragility of some of the African economies. The Free Trade Area is also critical for the rapid industrialization of the continent and Southern Africa, in particular.
“The agenda to advance Africa’s economic transformation through, among others, economic diversification, makes elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers among African countries urgent. Therefore, the creation of a single and functional continental market for goods and services must be a priority,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
In one of the sessions, the 2017 Indaba will critically assess the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area and the implications that it will have on manufacturing in Southern Africa. Speakers on this topic include Department of Trade and Industry Chief Director for Africa Multilateral Relations Mr Wamkele Mene, Africa House Director Duncan Bonnett and University of Stellenbosch Emeritus Professor Collin McCarthy.
Other speakers at the conference include ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who will deliver the Opening and Closing addresses, respectively.
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