Livingstone, Zambia, November 6, 2019 (ECA) – Speaking during the closing session of the Experts Meeting to Finalize Zambia’s AfCFTA Strategy and Implementation Plan organized on 5th and 6th November 2019, Mr. Paul Mumba, Chief Economist, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI), informed the meeting that the work on the AfCFTA, “does not end here, but starts now, he urged the participants to collectively own the strategy and share with their respective constituencies”. He assured the meeting that sensitisation is continous and called on every one to take a personal responsibility in raising awareness about the AfCFTA.
The Chief Economist said that “the final draft of the AfCFTA Strategy will be submitted to the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry by Friday 8 November 2019”. Once submitted it will be reviewed internally by senior management before submission to Cabinet. Once cleared, the Strategy will be officially launched by Ministry..
He further advised that, once the Strategy is approved, it is critical to undertake national sensitization and continued advocay so that the Zambian stakeholders own the document.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was represented by Oliver Maponga, Economic Affairs Officer who appluaded the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry’s commitment to deliver a high quality document that speaks to the needs and aspirations of Zambian stakeholders.
He emphasised, the importance of MSMEs being part of the AfCFTA and benefit from the opportunities that the agreement presents. “ECA is hoping to learn from Zambia’s experience as we work with other regional member States in rpoviding support towards the development of strategies on the AfCFTA”. He said.
He thanked the participants for their commitment to develop a comprehensive strategy. He informed the meeting that ECA is prepared to continue supporting the process and working in collaboration with the Zambian Government so that they ratify the AfCFTA agreement. He informed the meeting that ECA Southern Africa regional office will continue providing technical support to Zambai as one of the focus countries in the region.
The national consultation process and drafting of the national implementation strategy is part of a wider project aimed at deepening Africa’s Trade integration through effective implementation of the AfCFTA. Financially supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and trade experts to develop national AfCFTA strategies.
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