CAIRO – Trade Ministers of the African Union (AU) called on Thursday in Cairo to intensify training for the emergence of a skilled workforce capable of launching an "afro industry" -africaine. "
At the conclusion of the 7th meeting of African Ministers of Commerce, held Wednesday and Thursday in Cairo, in the presence of the Minister of Commerce, Said Djellab, the participants called for the relaxation of procedures relating to commercial activity between African countries to achieve the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF) and to make the most of their human resource potential
They affirmed that ZLECAF will contribute significantly to a real local transformation of African natural resources and the creation of value chains favorable to the promotion of employment and wealth.
In addition, they stressed the imperative for the realization of the project of this zone resides in the development of the chains of logistics, by prioritizing the air and rail transport, calling the African States not yet signed the agreement to implement ZLECAF to do so as soon as possible.
Senior African trade officials have said they should lift protectionist measures that could hinder the implementation of the zone or make it impossible, saying that dismantling tariffs would strengthen intra-African trade.
In a statement to the Algerian press, at the end of the meeting, Commerce Minister Said Djellab explained that the negotiations around ZLECAF had "made good progress" and resulted in "good results".
The Minister argued that the next step in the process of creating this area was to prepare the ground at the national level, in order to create the necessary conditions for launching this continental project.
He also said that African countries were giving themselves a five-year grace period before liberalizing trade in products they deem "sensitive" because of their importance to their economy.
These products may be industrial, agricultural or both, he said, adding, however, that the liberalization of trade of products classified as non-sensitive, will be done at the opening of the ZLECAF.
Mr. Djellab further stated that all free trade zones created to date in certain sub-regions of Africa will be phased in over the next ten years by ZLECAF.
The 7th meeting of the AU Trade Ministers was held on the sidelines of the 1st edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF-2018), opened last Tuesday in Cairo, in the presence of a quarantine of Algerian companies activating in various non-hydrocarbon sectors.
The aim of this fair is to stimulate intra-African trade and support the implementation of ZLECAF, whose agreement was signed in March 2018 by 44 African heads of state and government at the extraordinary summit of the AU in Kigali (Rwanda).
The decision to establish ZLECAF was adopted in 2012 at the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, while the negotiations on the ZLECAF within the UA had started in 2015.
The aim of this zone is to constitute a single market for goods and services at continental level by ensuring the free movement of activities and investments. This should allow, according to the AU, to accelerate the establishment of the African Customs Union.