Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-01-05 Origin: Site
The Free Trade Zone on the African Continent is Officially Launched, China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation Welcomes an Upgrade Opportunity
On January 1, local time, the launch ceremony of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was held online. The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Zone, Mene, announced that African countries have officially started trading activities in the Free Trade Zone.
President of South Africa, Rotating Chairman of the African Union, Ramaphosa, President of Niger, Mahamadou Issuf, Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of Ghana, Akufo-Addo, Deputy Executive of the United Nations Secretary-General Mohammed delivered video speeches respectively to congratulate the official launch of the free trade zone.
On March 21, 2018, 44 African countries signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Framework Agreement, which came into effect in May 2019. Due to the new crown epidemic and other reasons, the agreement has been postponed from the originally planned July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. Among the 55 member states of the African Union, 54 member states have signed the agreement, and 30 countries have submitted their approval documents to the African Union Commission. According to the "2063 Agenda", the main goal of the African Continental Free Trade Area is to establish a market for goods and services, promote the flow of people, promote industrialization, and promote sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth.
Silver OJAKOL, Director of the Office of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Zone, told People.com that the African countries that signed the free trade agreement are now ready to carry out trade activities, and within one month after the launch of the free trade area A series of celebrations will also be organized.
Ojakol said that in order to reduce the impact of the epidemic, the free trade zone has continuously explored and innovated, and built multiple online platforms and a super mobile phone application. All trade activities can be viewed online. The free trade zone also encourages small and medium-sized enterprises to conduct online transactions through e-commerce platforms, and all logistics, warehousing and other links will strictly comply with the health and epidemic prevention requirements of the WHO and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ojakol said that the African Continental Free Trade Area will greatly increase Africa's GDP. Previously, the trade volume between African countries accounted for between 16% and 18% of the total trade volume on the African continent, while it was as high as 55% in Asia and 60% in Europe. The advent of free trade areas will greatly enhance intra-African trade. In addition, the free trade zone will also increase the added value of raw materials such as coffee, cocoa beans, mineral resources and other raw materials through the establishment of regional value chains. Cross-border trade of African countries is mainly done through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMES), and the free trade zone will facilitate the development of trade activities by small and medium-sized enterprises.
The establishment of the African Free Trade Zone also provides a good opportunity for the upgrading and transformation of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. Ojakol said that foreign direct investment from other continents is welcome to enter Africa. He said that if Chinese companies invest in Africa, they can also enjoy preferential policies in the free trade zone if their products comply with the rules of origin. This has created conditions for more companies to carry out localized operations in Africa.