Ramaphosa to lead SA delegation to AU Summit in Rwanda

Oscar Cross
March 21, 2018

Several African leaders have already arrived in Rwanda's capital Kigali for the signing of the agreement tomorrow.

"We are afraid that the Rules of Origin cannot be adequately enforced because goods from the European Union can find their way into one of the African countries that have bilateral agreement with the EU".

President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the South African delegation to an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU) in Rwanda on Wednesday.

"Companies from Europe, Asia and America will take advantage of this agreement to bring their production lines to neighbouring African countries with steady power supply and dump their products on Nigeria", Ekechukwu said.

Critical steps remain in advancing the AfCFTA, said Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General of UN and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Sola Afolabi, a Nigerian trade expert, said it looked "good on paper" but warned of "hiccups".

African officials and experts also said there could still be challenges facing the operation of the AfCFTA.

"We have no doubt that this political initiative will toll the death bells of the Nigerian economy", Ayuba Waba, President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said.

Kigali's AU extraordinary summit, convened by Rwandese President Paul Kagame, AU's current chairperson, will culminate in the signing of an agreement on the AfCFTA and a protocol on the free movement of people and African passport. This is a historical commitment that has lasted nearly 40 years, and it represents a step forward for African unity and integration, stated for his part the Pro-Tempore Head of AU and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. Africa has regional economic communities like the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community for Eastern and Southern Africa. This, according to the AU, will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African Customs Union.

In January 2012, the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area by an indicative date of 2017.

It could create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a GDP of 2.5 trillion US dollars, the pan-African bloc said.

It also aims at boosting intra-trade, as trade among African countries accounts for only 13 percent of Africa's total trade, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said a year ago. It will also assess and support an African common position project for after 2020 about the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, which is composed by 79 states from these geographic areas.

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