Quoting a World Bank of AfCFTA’s benefits to the continent, he said if the implementation process goes through properly, by the year 2035, Africa will be able to lift 28 million Africans out of extreme poverty.
“If we implement this agreement properly, by the year 2035, we will be able to lift 68 million Africans out of moderate poverty… We, therefore, have a very daunting challenge ahead of us to make sure that the millions and millions of Africans who are looking at us…not to disappoint them,” he said.
Mr Mene was speaking at the opening ceremony of the second national conference on AfCFTA.
The two-day conference at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) from October 20 to 21, 2020 is on the theme, “Empowering Ghanaian Businesses to Harness the Benefits of the African Continental Free-Trade Agreement Under the Framework of the National Export Development Strategy.”
“This is Africa’s last chance,” he said about the continental agreement.
“We will not get another opportunity to overcome the smallness of our individual national economies. We will not get another opportunity to overcome the fragmentation of markets in Africa. We will not get another opportunity to build an integrated market which is projected by 2035 to be a combined GDP of consumer service of $7.8 trillion and therefore we have to confront the challenges,” he added.
He said although the implementation process was going to be difficult and time-consuming members of the African Union must strive to make it work.
Estimates from the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) suggest that the AfCFTA has the potential both to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by eliminating import duties and to double this trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
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