The 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council is underway in Lusaka with a call from Zambia for African Union countries to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
And Zambia has expressed readiness and willingness to contribute effectively to the promotion of increased intra-Africa trade.
Speaking during the official opening, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Stanley Kakubo urged African states to make use of the AfCFTA by concentrating on value addition.
He said there is a need to access alternative financial resources to bolster the competitiveness of African products.
Mr Kakubo said the high cost of capital is posing a serious challenge to value addition saying it needs to be addressed.
“In order to take full advantage of the AfCTA, it is necessary for our countries to produce and trade value-added products. We are all experiencing the high cost of capital which is binding and constraining the value addition, growth and transformation agenda of our industries. To address this challenge, we need to find innovative ways of reducing the cost of capital for Africa,” he said.
And the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation further called on African countries to renew the commitments towards the attainment of Agenda 2063.
Mr Kakubo said Agenda 2063 is a huge priority for the African continent.
“The implementation of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 remains high in our organization’s priorities. It is for this reason that I wish to call upon all of us member states to renew our commitment to fully implement Agenda 2063 and all of its flagship projects,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said Africa needs to reduce dependence on cooperating partners.
Mr Mahamat said it is important for the continent to be self-sustaining in order to reduce external shocks.
He also observed that the African continent has been affected by crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine Russia conflict.
Mr Mahamat said despite challenges the continent is facing, Africa is still committed to attaining Agenda 2063.
He also said the Commission has in the recent past improved the image of the pan African parliament.