15 June 2017

Africa: SA to Participate in AU Ministerial Meeting

Pretoria — South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is in Niamey, Niger, where he is set to participate in the third African Union (AU) Ministers of Trade Meeting.

The two-day meeting which gets underway today will among others consider progress made in the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations, as well as preparations for the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, who was appointed as the champion of the CTFA, will officially open the meeting.

Minister Davies said the CFTA, which is currently under negotiation, can be a driver of structural transformation for sustained economic growth, as well as enhanced intra-Africa trade and investment in the continent.

"South Africa is therefore committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over 1 billion people and approximately US$2.6 trillion," said Minister Davies.

The second meeting of the AU Ministers of Trade held in November 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adopted the Terms of Reference for the Technical Working Groups for the CFTA.

Ministers of Trade will also make use of the opportunity to discuss the state of play in the WTO negotiations and the implications on Africa's development priorities and the CFTA.

Other issues to be discussed at the two-day meeting in the West African country include the state of play in the WTO negotiations.

The meeting, which will conclude on Friday, 16 June, was preceded by the 6th CFTA Negotiating Forum.

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