The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said there must be right equipment for customs authorities at the border to facilitate the fast and efficient transit of goods .
The AfCFTA explained that the full implementation will be a long journey as Africa needs the right equipment for customs authorities at the border to facilitate the fast and efficient trade which goes into effect on January 1.
This was contained in a statement released by Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat on Tuesday, December 29.
The statement read: “It’s going to take us a very long time. If you don’t have the roads if you don’t have the right equipment for customs authorities at the border to facilitate the fast and efficient transit of goods .
“if you don’t have the infrastructure, both hard and soft, it reduces the meaningfulness of this agreement.
“We want to move Africa away from this colonial economic model of perpetually being an exporter of primary commodities for processing elsewhere.
“We want to stop approaching tariffs as a tool for revenue. We want tariffs to be a tool for industrial development.
“I’m not saying countries must rush to dispute settlement. All I’m saying is that, if they do, the jurisprudence will bring clarity to the body of trade law that we’ve developed in the form of this agreement.”
He added that AfreximBank is working to implement a continental trading platform to enable smaller businesses trade efficiently in the continent without currency difficulties.
Mene warned that the AfCFTA created some losers and not enough winners and said there might be backlash to free trade in the continent.
“Often in trade agreements, the big winners are the already industrialised countries and the big corporations who can access the new markets literally overnight”