Abuja, 13 July 2018 -- The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) will work closely with the African Union (AU) to strengthen the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enable it to operate effectively, Executive Secretary Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie said. There is also the need to set up an institutional mechanism to drive it at country level for a successful implementation, Prof. Nnadozie said at the 25th anniversary celebration of the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Without such a secretariat to ensure collaboration and coordination of its activities, the trade area would become nobody’s responsibility, he said. He described AFCFTA as a “major milestone in the trajectory of development in Africa and should be given the urgency and attention it requires,” adding: “It will provide enormous benefits to the countries, regions and the continent.”
Prof. Nnadozie said it was encouraging that 44 countries had signed the agreement and six ratified it, but warned that African countries would not derive benefits from it if they do not prepare well to implement the agreement.
“It is one thing to sign, another thing to ratify; implementation is the hard work,” the Executive Secretary said. For example, he said ACBF was concerned that countries were still unable to derive maximum benefit of the opportunity 17 years after the Africa’s Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) allowing African countries duty-free export to the US.
The Foundation is also proposing to conduct an assessment of countries’ readiness to successfully implement the agreement, said Prof. Nnadozie. He said AfCFTA’s success would depend on partnership of stakeholders and therefore called on the private and public sectors to collaborate to make it work. (ACBF)