AfCFTA Secretary General HE Wamkele Mene made the remarks Thursday at the PAPSS Business Launch in Accra, Ghana, which took place virtually and physically.
PAPSS guarantees the instant or near-instant transfer of funds between originators in one African country and beneficiaries in another.
Mene said: “The great heroes of the struggle for the liberation of our continent more than 60 years ago had the vision of an integrated market in Africa and today they rejoice because the dream of an integrated Africa is becoming a reality in our lifetime. .
“How fitting it is, therefore, that the commercial launch of PAPSS should take place here in Ghana, a country that has always been at the intellectual and philosophical forefront of pan-Africanism.
“This project is a pioneering effort to achieve a pan-African payments and settlements system that will enable Africa to reduce dependency on third currencies and, more importantly, has the potential to significantly boost intra-African trade.
“The commercial launch of PAPSS is timely and set to significantly boost intra-African trade, payments that are less reliant on third currencies.
“It is set to save the continent up to $5 billion annually, which is the amount currency convertibility costs Africa.”
Mene explained that the African continent, in the last two years, has borne the effects of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused border closures, restrictions and logistical difficulties that disrupted trade and economies.
“In the midst of this, our Heads of State made the bold decision to start trading in the very difficult conditions that were created.
“Since the start of trade under the AfCFTA on January 1, 2021, there have been significant improvements in other key aspects of the implementation of the agreement,” he said.
Mene added: “They include an increase in the number of States party to the AfCFTA from 35 (64 percent) in December 2020 to 39 (73 percent) at the end of 2021.
“Improvement in the agreement on the AfCFTA rules of origin from 81.8 percent to 88.6 percent.
“Activation and start-up of the Dispute Settlement Body (OSD), a key pillar in the successful implementation of the agreement, in April.”
According to the AfCTA secretary general, the appeals body was also being set up.
He also cited the successful hosting of the second edition of the IATF in Durban, South Africa, in November 2021, where trade and trade-related deals worth a record $42.1 billion were concluded.
“Continuation of preliminary work on phase II negotiations covering protocols on intellectual property, investment, competition policy, digital trade (e-commerce) and women and youth in trade.
“All of this is a testament to the fact that the push to implement the AfCFTA Agreement, one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, to achieve an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, is ongoing.
“With the launch of PAPPS, a critical tool to boost intra-African trade, the implementation of the AfCFTA is well positioned to benefit SMEs, young entrepreneurs and those trading across borders in Africa.
“This is the cost of trading across borders in Africa,” he said.
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