UK backs Africa’s continental free trade initiative

Advertisement

The UK is a committed partner in this mission. This UK funding will promote long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous, greener continent.”…reports Asian Lite News

UK’ International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a new programme to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trading bloc.

Through the AfCFTA Support Programme, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will provide up to £35m to provide trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA Secretariat and Member States through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and other regional partners.

Announcement of the programme comes as AfCFTA Secretariat Secretary General Wamkele Mene visits London to discuss how the UK can continue its work as a strategic partner to the AfCFTA.

 “As an independent free trading nation, the UK strongly supports the AfCFTA – the largest free trade area in the world,” Trevelyan said. “We’re keen to see continued momentum on outstanding negotiations, and on practical implementation of the agreement on the ground.”

“This new aid programme shows that trade is a force for good, and will lead to increased trade, investment, and prosperity for both Africa and the UK,” she added.

As the world’s largest free trade area, the AfCFTA has the potential to boost Africa’s economic growth by driving industrialisation, generating jobs and delivering prosperity across the continent.

For UK businesses, the trade bloc will remove market access barriers by creating a single continental market, making it easier and more cost-effective for UK businesses to export goods and services across the 54 AfCFTA member states.

Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said: “Closer integration between African economies boosts growth across the continent creates opportunities and helps lift people out of poverty.”

“The UK is a committed partner in this mission. This UK funding will promote long-term partnerships between African countries and support a more prosperous, greener continent.”

Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat Wamkele Mene said the UK support ushers Africa into a partnership for strengthening cooperation related to customs and trade facilitation and trade policy across the African continent.

“In the last five years or so, we have seen the re-engineering of our Regional Economic Communities, to take into consideration the aspirations that are embedded in the AfCFTA instruments. We have also witnessed during this period the enthusiasm and the energy of our private sector to rise to the occasion and begin to exploit what is provided for in the Agreement,” he said.

“Our ambition now is to see commercially meaningful trading in ‘Made in the AfCFTA’ products taking place, across the length and breadth of our continent, to create jobs and economic opportunities for Africans, especially women and the youth. We want to make trade easier for the Africans, in particular, our women and young Africans who trade across our borders,” he added.

ALSO READ-African countries report 2,846 new Covid cases