leaders and experts have cast doubt on whether the East African Community will
benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, that took effect
January 1 this year.
The AfCTA is a trading arrangement supported by 54 African countries to
create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent,
and aiding the movement of capital and people, among others, facilitating
half of the countries have ratified the agreement. However, there are fears by some countries that are less
advanced economically than others could fail to benefit from the arrangement,
the reason why many have not yet ratified it.
obliged to protect their local industries from an anticipated influx of imports
from partner countries, at the expense of local products.
In the East
African Community, for example, Tanzania is yet to ratify the deal, while other
countries have not yet put in place local or national measures to ensure that
the citizens benefit.
Secretary-General of the SADC Youth Council, Mansouza Kingu blamed his country,
Tanzania for being an example of the countries lacking the political will
towards the continental treaty, despite recently showing interest in
But he also
blames the leadership of the countries in the region for not taking the treaty
to the people, wondering how then they will take up the opportunities.
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speaking at the EAC workshop aimed at enhancing the participation of women in
the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Secretary-General for Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo,
said that the goal of the EAC was to ensure that women in the region were
fully equipped and capable of accessing and exploiting the numerous
opportunities and benefits that accrue from the AfCFTA initiative, adding that
the continental free trade area provides significant business opportunities for
“We have now
almost finalized the submission of our tariff offers which conform to the
agreed modalities in addition to the schedules of liberalization of trade in
We have also
prepared a draft strategy for the implementation of the Agreement, which takes
into account the need for capacity building. It is presently under
consideration by the Partner States,” said Bazivamo.
It was noted
that women dominate the cross-border trade between many African countries, but
that not much has been done to prepare them to take advantage of the intended opportunities
from the treaty.
these women are mostly small-scale traders and informal too.
there is a risk that when the AfCFTA takes full effect, traders from other
countries will easily invade these countries and disrupt the trade with imports
into the region.
an international trade advisor at the Regal Africa Group says any kind of
progress will follow the formalization of these small-scale traders and to
build their capacity to export.
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should then be done, Gantha challenged the government to as much as possible,
involve women leaders in policy formulation processes, create avenues for
accessing capital and give them technical guidance among others. These
should enable women to compete across the regions.
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The Director of Trade at
the EAC Secretariat, Alhaj Rashid Kiboa, agreed that there are still lots
of work to do in the region, calling on all the countries’ leaderships to get
their economies ready, in order not to be left behind by other regional
also challenged the business community in the meantime to focus on developing
what products and services they will present for trade.
good government policies might offer nothing when the private sector is not
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