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Consultation and sensitisation of Mozambican key stakeholders on AfCFTA progress

24 March, 2023
Consultation and sensitisation of Mozambican key stakeholders on AfCFTA progress

Maputo, Mozambique 24 March 2023 - Jorge Jairoce, Permanent Secretary, Mozambique Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) says, “our country is strongly committed to pushing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda by signing and ratifying the AfCFTA Agreement, negotiating critical trade protocols and preparing the implementation of the National AfCFTA Strategy, including support to private sector”.

He said this in Maputo at a two-day National Consultative Meeting and Awareness Workshop on the National AfCFTA Strategy of the Republic of Mozambique, organized by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) through its Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) and the Africa Trade Policy Center. The workshop took place from 23-24 March with the financial support of the European Union

In her opening remarks, Isatou Gaye, Chief Sub-Regional initiatives, speaking on behalf of Ms. Eunice Kamwendo, Director of the SRO-SA said that since 2021 ECA and the Mozambique Ministry of Industry and Commerce have been collaborating to implement a technical assistance project aimed at strengthening the production of external trade statistics in the country. Mozambique, she said, is currently Chair of the Bureau of the Inter-Governmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts for Southern Africa (ICSOE), which provides guidance on ECA’s work in the region.   

Mr. Prakash Prehland, Vice-President, Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique represented the private sector.  He stressed the importance of the AfCFTA in connecting businesses and opening continental trade for Mozambique and called on his country to align with the necessary AfCFTA instruments. “There is high demand for Mozambican products, AfCTA protocols will help private sector capitalise on its benefits.  Currently, only 28% is continental trade and most of it is with South Africa”.

Mr. Eulogio Montijano, Representative of the Delegation of the European Union reinforced the importance of economic partnerships with ECA and SADC that have supported the country to undertake reforms to leverage opportunities provided by the AfCFTA. He noted that, “ratification is not an end but the beginning, this is an opportunity to improve the business environment and promote industrialization, and to support SMEs to become competitive and insert in regional value chains. The EU will continue supporting regional integration technically and financially while accompanying the process of implementation”.

Mr. Jaime Comiche, Country Representative United Nations Industrial Development Orgnanisation, welcomed the participants on behalf of Ms. Myrta Kaulard, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Mozambique. Implementation of the Strategy , he said, will need to be sustained within a multi-stakeholder partnership that rests on increased engagement between the government and the private sector and civil society. This way, the AfCFTA would translate into benefits for Mozambique.  

The two-day workshop raised awareness of the AfCFTA’s expected benefits, explained the state of play in current AfCFTA negotiations as well as the Protocols and implications for the country.  

Discussions also focused on how the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can serve as a building block of the AfCFTA, with a session dedicated to AfCFTA benefits to women, youth and SMEs.

The Director of Trade, Mr. Claire Zimba, reiterated the commitment of Mozambique to deposit its instrument of ratification with the African Union and to engage in the reforms necessary for private sector development in Mozambique.

The Government of Mozambique expressed its appreciation to ECA for its technical assistance on the AfCFTA process and called on the United Nations to support Mozambique to implement its Strategy. The AfCFTA Awareness workshop was facilitated by experts from ECA (SRO-SA and ATPC), the SADC Secretariat, and TRALAC. Government officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Institute for the Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises were in attendance.

The workshop was a follow up to a prior, National AfCFTA Stakeholder Workshop held on 7 December 2022 which discussed the country’s National AfCFTA Strategy and apprised stakeholders of recent developments on negotiations and operationalisation processes, including its accompanying Protocols, and their implications for stakeholders, such as businesses including Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women and youth. 

Issued by:
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.

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