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AfCFTA Launches Its Guided Trade Initiative in Africa

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on October 7th initiated the Guided Trade Initiative, a plan which will establish the pace for execution of meaningful trade activities in Africa. 

The initiative aims to pilot the operational, institutional, lawful and trade policy conditions in line with the AfCFTA, sending a significant message to the economic community in Africa. 

Eight countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritius, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Rwanda have so far attended the pilot initiative. 

The countries have delivered their tariff plans according to the approved ways in order to do commerce across Africa. Some countries in the continent have, since the official announcement of the initiative, begun export of their initial consigned goods in line with the AfCFTA trade scheme. Rwanda, for instance, has exported its coffee to Ghana in the end of September. 

According to the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, at the beginning of the pilot, seven countries traded 96 products totally. It is expected that by 2023 the figure will double or triple. Saying that this is not just a legal test or a mere agreement as the economic growth of the continent is at risk, he expressed his pride over the capability and willingness of Africans to attain this goal. 

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, also said the African countries possess common interests to put the initiative into action. He added I see the differences in nations but our joint interests work as a single continent. He further said efficient work needs efficient implementation, driven from efficient planning. In this regard, Alan Kyerematen, Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, said that the initiative indicates that African countries engaged in AfCFTA’s negotiations are trying to spread the private sector to make it real.

The AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative aims to support continued trading in accordance with the AfCFTA, which expands opportunities for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), young people and women to eventually achieve sustainable economic growth. Briggette Harrington, CEO of Igire Coffee Limited, which is the first Rwandan firm to enter the agreement, recently said domestic products are ready for export throughout the continent. However, she confirmed that there are still areas to improve. She asked private sectors’ activists to get familiar with the ways to take greatest advantage and help boost other marketplaces. 

Signed in March 2018, AfCFTA initiated its work at the beginning of 2021 and established a unique marketplace for products and services in the large continent. 

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By Samira Ha. on October 13, 2022

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