The 13th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States has adopted and declared the start of trading under the Agreement
establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to commence from 1 January 2021.
This followed the adoption by the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the Johannesburg Declaration on the Start of Trading Under the AfCFTA.
And President Edgar Lungu has welcome the adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration.
He expressed delight to note that substantial progress had been made on the conclusion of deliberations on Rules of Origin which are critical to facilitate free movement of goods.
He also stated that as leaders proceeded with opening of the borders, member states needed to be mindful of the need to ensure that necessary accompanying facilities and procedures were in place to facilitate smooth trade amongst them.
He said key to this process was the investment in trade related infrastructure such as road, rail, and air transport networks, as well as development of modern border infrastructure and port facilities.
He said as such, member states needed to accelerate the implementation of the continental infrastructure programme, which was a necessary precondition upon which the successful implementation of the AfCFTA Area depended.
In this regard, President Lungu welcomed the adoption of Rules of Origin that would not only promote trade within the Continent but also protect member states’ industries particularly the Dairy, Sugar, Wheat, Textiles and Edible Oils industries, which were sensitive and have potential for substantial revenue earnings for most of the member states on the continent.
He said he was aware that of the fact that the implementation of the AfCFTA may present both opportunities and challenges to member states.
He said among the key challenges would be the foregone revenue as a result of preferential trade.
He also informed the Assembly that substantial progress has been made by Zambia to ratify the Treaty of the AfCFTA and said Parliament was expected to finalize its adoption.
President Lungu was represented by Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon. Christopher Yaluma who made the remarks on his behalf.
The African Union is holding the 13th and 14th Extraordinary Sessions of the Assembly of Heads of States virtually to resolve issues surrounding the AfCFTA and the Silencing of the Guns in Africa.