He said this would help restore the effects of the pandemic on the continent’s industry growth and development agenda.
He said the continent’s ability to trade goods and services, including the airline industry, tourism and other components, was critical to its recovery.
Mene said Africa, before the start of the pandemic, was an important market with a growth rate of 3.4% per year, and the producer of six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies.
“With COVID-19, we went from that to a contraction of a magnitude that we haven’t had in about 30 years.
“But with the objectives of AfCFTA, by 2035, by tackling Africa’s trade, Africa is on the path to industrial development and we are building a capacity to diversify our exports domestically and abroad. outside the continent, ”he said.
According to him, the projection of the International Monetary Fund is that by 2022 there will be a positive growth path of 2.1% for sub-Saharan Africa if we deploy the vaccines on time and implement the AfCFTA.
He said the AfCFTA is therefore the engine of Africa’s recovery with all the essentials for that to happen.
The AfCFTA secretary general also addressed the obvious challenges related to rules of origin under the agreement.
Mene said the agreement contained rules that provided for discipline, product dumping, subsidized products and preferential safeguards, among others.
He called for concerted efforts by the private sector, the AfCFTA Secretariat and regulatory agencies to build the capacity of customs authorities in participating countries for the success of the agreement.
This, he said, would ensure the application of discipline and strengthen the capacity of customs services to effectively implement AfCFTA trade rules.
Mene praised the Nigerian government’s efforts to set up its trade remedy authorities to deal with investigations, origin issues and punitive action if necessary.
“At the moment, only two countries – Egypt and South Africa – have their trade remedy authorities ready, which has the capacity to prevent dumping and address many other challenges associated with inter-African trade.
“Nigeria is at an advanced stage of setting up a trade resumption appeal authority and this is a very positive step,” he said.
In her remarks, Ms. Toki Mabogunje, President of LCCI, said that AfCFTA was largely a story of immense enthusiasm and expectation among the Nigerian business community due to the opportunities inherent.
Mabogunje said the AfCFTA would make the continent more integrated, united and prosperous, especially in light of the many benefits of a larger market.
However, she expressed concern about the challenges of competitiveness and the possible surge in imports that would result from the continental integration agreement.
“The Chamber believes that this is an opportunity for countries to increase their competitiveness by improving their investment climate.
“Ultimately, it would be in the interest of the economies of the continent and the well-being of our citizens,” she said.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Mene would be a special guest at the LCCI forum on the theme: “AfCFTA: Roadmap to Successful Implementation” scheduled for March 16.
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