10 Jul 2019
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is a milestone beneficial for South Africa, and one that was the dream of the Organisation of African Union 60 years ago, IOL reports.
The AfCFTA was launched on Sunday and guarantees the removal of tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing commodities, goods and services to be accessed freely across the continent.
According to a statement from the Presidency, Ramaphosa had high hopes for the agreement, expecting it to boost African economies. He said South Africa would benefit from forming part of the world’s largest single market, which includes 55 countries and a combined population of 1.2 billion people, as well as a combined gross domestic product of US$3.2 trillion.
Ramaphosa’s office said: "The President sees the implementation of the agreement as a platform for African countries to trade among themselves and reap the benefits of the tariff-free area.
"One of the key spin-offs is expected to be greater focus and urgency for infrastructure development across the continent to support economic activities."
One of the last countries to sign up to the agreement was Nigeria, being one of Africa’s largest economies.
TC Chetty, South Africa country manager for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “It is a welcome move by Nigeria and gives the AfCFTA more clout, with 54 countries having now signed.
"The free trade agreement holds great promise for Africa and there was a lot of enthusiasm around it at the recent RICS summit ... in Johannesburg."
According to Ipeleng Mkhari, the chief exceutive and founder of Motseng Investment Holdings, the AfCFTA would heighten the private sector’s competitiveness.
"At enterprise level, it will provide opportunities for scaled production, continental markets, access and better allocation of resources - not least of all capital, finance and labour,” she said.