President Edgar Lungu has expressed satisfaction with the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AFCFTA) agenda of accelerating intra-African trade and boosting the continent’s trading position in the global market.
President Lungu reiterated that Zambia has a firm belief in intra-Africa trade, noting that Africa is a big market exploited by the rest of the world but not exploiting itself for growth.
“If Zambia can trade and benefit from regional integration to start with, it will be easier for Zambia to trade within Africa, and for African countries to trade within Zambia, and thereby keeping our wealth internally,” the President said.
The Head of State said this when AFCFTA Secretary-General Wamukele Mene paid a courtesy call on him at State House yesterday.
President Lungu has meanwhile commended Mr. Mene and his team for embarking on the initiative to visit member states to share their aspirations and to familiarize themselves with national systems for better collaboration among countries and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“I think it is important that we back up our talks with financial and economic strength, and this can only happen if we subscribe to this idea and not only subscribe but implement it, and the time to do that is now,” President Lungu said.
And visiting AFCFTA Secretary-General Wamukele Mene thanked the government of Zambia for supporting his candidature in February last year for him to become the first Secretary-General of the organization.
Mr. Mene appreciated the support he received from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region for him to ascend to the position.
He has meanwhile congratulated Zambia for ratifying the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
He said Zambia is the only country that has submitted the trade in goods and the trade in services offers to AFCFTA.
Mr. Mene took the opportunity to outline the organization’s vision during his tenure of office.
He said interconnectivity between small medium enterprises on the African continent as well as industrialisation are the avenues that will increase the continent’s global trade share from the current three percent.
“The first and most important thing we have to do is to make sure that this agreement and its benefits are inclusive. No single African country can be globally competitive by itself, that is why there is need for collaborative efforts,” he said.
The AFCFTA Secretary General also used the opportunity to disclose that the organization had sourced financing from the African Export- Import Bank (AFEX) for productive sector investment such as textile, in order to set the industrialisation agenda into motion.