LUSAKA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday called for embracement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) if it is to fully benefit the continent.
Lungu said the AfCFTA will create deeper interactions for all countries on the continent but noted that there was need for serious commitment from all countries to realize its full benefits.
The Zambian leader said the AfCFTA has immense opportunities for increasing intra-regional trade, enhancing production, promoting economies of scale, creating jobs, raising incomes and improving the standard of living of the African people, according to state-run news agency, the Zambia News and Information Service.
He however said there was need for countries to develop good national strategies and action plans for trade in both goods and services.
"It is important to note that the AfCFTA agreement is not self-executing as it requires countries to deploy deliberate strategies towards ensuring that the private sector, as key stakeholders in production and trade, is primed to exploit a larger market and product opportunities offered by the AfCFTA, with reduced tariff and non-tariff barriers," he said.
According to him, it was imperative to, among other things, address supply-side constraints limiting the productive capacity of industries to stimulate competitiveness and coherence between national industry policy and trade promotion.
The effective exploitation of the AfCFTA will require consensus among all stakeholders, who include the private sector, government, academics, and civil society, women and youth organizations, he added.
The AfCFTA will officially be effected during the forthcoming extraordinary head of state and government summit of the African Union (AU) in Niger next month.