The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has called for the speedy finalisation of the tariff schedule listing of all products covered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - as well as rules of origin - ahead implementation on 1 July 2020.
Speaking during the Economic Policy Dialogue in Cape Town last week, deputy minister of the dti, Fikile Majola, said by finalising this listing, South Africa would be in a position to explore the possible trade benefits associated with the free trade area.
“While this policy dialogue aims to discuss the AfCFTA with the intention of determining its bearing on South Africa, it is prudent to give a glimpse into the possible trade and economic spin-offs for our country,” he said.
“Though some opinion-makers indicate that the AfCFTA is very ambitious because of the many disparities between the countries’ development stages, especially relating to trade capabilities, infrastructure and administrative frameworks such as competition and intellectual property policies, we are confident that the potential benefits of the AfCFTA will be significant in increasing intra-Africa trade and foreign direct investment.”
He added that for the AfCFTA to be a success, African countries would need to address issues such as lack of infrastructure and the draining of the continent’s raw materials.
“The continent’s full potential will remain unfulfilled unless we address the challenges of poor infrastructure, small and fragmented markets, underdeveloped production structures and inadequate economic diversification,” he said. – Bjorn Vorster