Livingstone, Zambia, November 5, 2019 (ECA) – Government stands ready to finalize the Zambia’s Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) strategy and implementation plan.
Speaking at the experts meeting to finalize Zambia’s AfCFTA Strategy and Implementation Plan held in Livingstone, Chief Economist, Paul Mumba noted that Zambia is a state party to the agreement indicating the highest political will from the Government especially that the Framework Agreement was signed by His. Excellency, Mr. Edgar Changwa Lungu.
Mr. Mumba disclosed that the meeting will need to agree on the activities to be undertaken to implement the strategy once it has been finalized and launched.
He said that the on-going meeting is important as a country, to prepare Government as well as help Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to respond to the opportunities and challenges that come with the implementation of AFCTA.
“We need a plan to put a strategy in place so that we are able to respond systematically to the AfCFTA challenges and opportunities,” He emphasised.
Mr. Mumba urged the participants to focus on the strategies that will provide opportunities that come with AfCFTA rather than the negative fears of Zambian industries failing to compete favourably in the wider market as perceived. “Zambia is already enjoying from the liberalised economy from the existing trading blocks in the various Tripartite Free Trade areas and AfcCTA will be an advantage to open a wider market”. He continued.
And Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic Affairs Officer, Oliver Maponga noted that his institution is proud to support the Zambia’s AfCFTA strategy anchored on the 7th National Plan theme of not leaving anyone behind.
Mr. Maponga emphasized that the strategy will allow Zambia to exploit new and emerging business opportunities and effectively participate in the African market hence the need to successfully complete the strategy.
“Our success as Zambia will be defined by how we have identified the niche areas for entrepreneurs as business is at the centre of the AfCFTA strategy, adding that Zambia is one of the focus countries for the ECA Southern Regional Office and support for this strategy is part of the overall technical assistance to the country”, he said.
Mr. Maponga advised that the national strategy being developed is a national project that goes beyond the Ministry of Commerce and that various stakeholders should take keen interest. He further emphasized the importance of ensuring that the strategy is implemented for the benefit of businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.
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