Uganda has unanimously been selected to chair the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations on the forum for African Ministers of trade running for one year until June 2019.
The historic AfCTA involves the 55 member states of Africa and so far, it’s the world’s largest free trade area, by number of the 44 African countries that signed its protocols.
It establishes a single market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.
Uganda takes on from Rwanda the former chair of the Continental Free Trade Area which aims at enhancing competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production.
The campaign fast track speedy negotiations on the CFTA with a specific focus on the liberalization of trade in goods and services. The campaign is expected to be spearheaded by the Minister of Trade, industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde, a vocal proponent of trade integration at the continental level.
The conclusion of the trade negotiations will lead to socio-economic transformation of the continent in line with the goals of the AU’s Agenda 2063. For Uganda, this will open up the cross border markets for locally made goods and services and access to emerging markets.
Based on the projected outcomes of the CFTA, consumers of cross border goods and services are expected to reap from the lower costs. Beneficially, Uganda’s growing volumes of intra-African trade will provide an opportunity for its traders and producers to increase output levels.
Being at the forefront of these negotiations, enable leaders to involve insights of the private sector in high level panels. Engaging both parties in the free trade area consultation and negotiations give ways for increased collaboration on cross border trade activities.