Zim works on domesticating Continental Free Trade Area

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is upgrading its transport infrastructure including airports, and road network to facilitate smooth flow of trade as part of efforts to rapidly domesticate key aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA), President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.

He said this at the Zimbabwe-Rwanda trade and investment conference that was organised by Zimtrade and the Rwanda Development Board.

President Mnangagwa said relevant legislation was also being attended to domesticate the AfCFTA.

“My government is moving with speed in domesticating key aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Area. This includes reviewing investment related legislation, upgrading of our borders into one stop border posts, and the upgrading of our airport facilities, as well as road and rail network to facilitate smooth flow of goods,” he said.

“This demonstrates our desire as a country to make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination on the continent and across the world.”

Zimbabwe is currently upgrading the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge road, a major trade artery in the Southern African Development Community, while major upgrades are also being undertaken at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport to increase its human and cargo handling capacity.

The Beitbridge border post is also undergoing a huge transformation as part of efforts by government to enhance trade.

“My government remains committed to creating an environment that is conducive for business, while realising the expansion of economic cooperation, trade and investment. We thus stand ready to welcome investors and global capital from across all countries of the world,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also touted several reforms that Zimbabwe has undertaken to improve the country’s ease of doing business including setting up the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency and introducing sector specific incentives such as tax holidays and import duty exemptions.

“Furthermore, my administration has addressed issues that were of concern in the past. These include guaranteeing security to investment and allowing repatriation of profits as well as dividends and royalties,” he said.

On Zimbabwe-Rwanda trade relations, President Mnangagwa said the conference would add impetus to the two country’s quest to strengthen commercial ties.

“We have the collective responsibility to shift the historical trend which was characterised by low trade volumes between our two friendly countries despite the existence of huge potential,” he said.

The conference is being held under the theme “Explore, Invest, Export.”

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s exports formed a critical aspect of the National Development Strategy 1.

“In addition, investments and exports are also key in improving the delivery of quality services to the general populace including health, services, moreso as we continue to fight emerging global pandemics such as Covid-19 among others,” he said.
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