Zambia is among the forty-four other African Countries that have welcomed the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) meant to create One African Market.
The development was reached at during the 10th Extraordinary Heads of States and Government Summit in Kigali, Rwanda that was called by African Union Chairperson Paul Kagame.
Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji who represented President Edgar Lungu at the summit signed the African Free Trade Area Declaration and not the Agreement.
Mr. Malanji stated that Zambia has not signed the agreement on ACFTA because negotiations on some of the protocols of the agreement are still on going.
He pointed out that Zambia had negotiated the protocol on goods, and services and the dispute settlement mechanism.
Mr. Malanji said the remaining protocols that included trade competition, Investment and the intellectual property are yet to be negotiated.
He however, noted that the signing of the declaration shows that Zambia stands with all other African Nations in its quest to improve intra Africa Trade.
Meanwhile, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Christopher Yaluma said Zambia will not sign the protocol on the free Movement of People.
In a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka this evening by First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia, Inutu Mwanza, Mr. Yaluma who also attended the summit said Zambia is not ready for such a protocol.
On the ACFTA, Mr. Yaluma explained that Zambia needed to undertake internal consultations with the business community and other stakeholders before signing the Agreement.
He indicated that Government will only engage in treaties that have a positive bearing on the Zambian people especially the youth and women.
And officially opening the summit, Rwandan President Paul Kagame who is also African Union President noted that time has come for Africa to boost its own trade.
General Kagame said the African Continental Free Trade Area is a sure way of economic prosperity and urged member states to ratify the Agreement.
He further stated that the ACFTA will bring job creation particularly among the youths.