Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is committed to playing its part in advancing Africa’s development agenda and its participation in the grand African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one such initiative, President Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
The AfCFTA, a flagship project of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, came into force this year after ratification by 24 African states, becoming the world’s largest free trade pact since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation.
The main objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market for goods and services and enabling the free movement of persons and investments.
President Mnangagwa said the free trade area presented massive opportunities for local businesses to exploit.
“As Zimbabwe, we continue to play our part in advancing the SADC, COMESA and African Union economic development agenda,” he said in a State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.
“In partnership with the private sector, we envisage to derive maximum benefit from the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
The free trade area creates a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of 2.5 trillion.
On its part, Zimbabwe ratified the AfCFTA agreement and has started stakeholder consultations in order to craft a national strategy which will guide its participation in the trade bloc.
The national implementation strategies being developed by African countries will focus on each country’s priority interests within the continental and global development agenda.
The AfCFTA is expected to be a key engine of economic growth, industrialisation and sustainable development in Africa.
President Mnangagwa said the government was developing enabling policies and infrastructure such as the Walvis Bay Dry Port in Namibia to facilitate the participation of local companies in the free trade area.
“Our businesses are urged to take advantage of the scope that exists from Zimbabwe becoming a transport and logistics hub. This follows the commissioning of the Zimbabwe Walvis Bay Dry Port in Namibia, coupled with other confirmed bilateral investments,” he said.