Yaounde, 18 January 2019 (ECA) – A total of 83 leaders from the public and private sectors of the Central African Republic (CAR) have completed a three-day training to appropriate rules of origin procedures for accrediting national industrial products into the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime.
Facilitated by the Subregional Office for Central Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the training took place in Bangui as part of a series that has already benefitted local investors and administrative officials in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The series of training ultimately seeks to fully activate free trade within the ECCAS and help to operationalize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose legal instruments were signed on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The trainees are expected to use the insights from the workshop to make better use of the current preferential tariff regime in place across ECCAS countries, given that current ECCAS arrangements have removed tariffs from the intraregional export-import of items that have been locally produced and transformed, yet were little known or applied on the field.
"In prelude to our exposure to the huge opportunities the continental marketplace (AfCFTA), the appropriation of the sub-regional market is a challenge that we must first tackle together as the public and private sector” said the CAR Minister of Trade and Industry – Mr. Come Hassan, who opened the training session.
“This training, which is an essential link in the chain leading us towards a free trade area, will therefore plug the knowledge gaps we face around the contours of intra-African trade,” he added.
He said it was high time the CAR worked to the extent that its “market becomes a supplier” of finished products to the Central African subregion and beyond.
For his part, Mr. Simon Fouda – Economic Affairs Officer and Representative of the Director of ECA's Subregional Office for Central Africa, called on the beneficiaries of the training to immerse themselves in the mastery procedures for benefitting from the CEEAC-CEMAC preferential tariff for local industrial products, as this will "concretely exude the benefits of the Central African Free Trade Area".
Tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as limited economic diversification and product complementarity among Central African states have contributed to the lower performance of the subregion in terms of intra-Africa trade, which stands at about 3% against the African average of 17%.
The Bangui training brings the number of persons trained to take advantage of the ECCAS-CEMAC Harmonized Preferential Tariff regime to boost intraregional trade in Central Africa to almost 400 across six countries of the subregion. Actors in the rest of the countries of the subregion will also be reached.
Funding for the activity was made possible thanks to a contribution agreement signed by the European Union (EU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for the further harmonization of ECCAS and CEMAC trade policy instruments.
The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 222504348 / 222504315 / 222504321
Abel Akara Ticha – Communication Officer
Tel: 237 222504348