Zambian expert calls for political will to implement Africa free trade deal

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-05 19:24:30|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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LUSAKA, April 5 (Xinhua) -- A Zambian expert on Friday called for political will by African leaders to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The AfCFTA agreement, signed on March 21, 2018 in Rwanda, has managed to garner the required number of ratifications for it to enter into force after Gambia ratified it on April 1, 2019.

While commending the countries for attaining the mark of now having the agreement enforced, Francis Mangeni, Director of Trade and Customs at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), said the onus was now on leaders to ensure the implementation of the agreement.

"The real hard work now begins; that of implementation, on which Africa doesn't have a very proud record. Besides, there is quite a bit of unfinished work to be done," he said in a statement analyzing the current situation of the agreement and the way forward.

He said clear political leadership and proactive engagement of peers at the highest level could dramatically achieve results, adding that the pan-Africanist energy and activism at the highest political level that has achieved the ratification of the agreement in just over a year should now be equally deployed to ensure due completion of all key outstanding matters.

According to him, African countries should now work on completing rules of origin and tariff negotiations by, among other things producing tariff schedules and a mechanism for addressing non-tariff barriers.

"Other areas to be completed, include operationalization of the Africa Trade Observatory, which has already been launched; and establishment of continental payment systems," he said.