21 March 2018

Africa: CFTA is Too Important to Fail - Kagame

President Paul Kagame has said that even if the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area may not happen overnight, the framework is too important to fail.

Kagame made the remarks last evening at a state banquet he and First Lady Jeannette Kagame hosted in honour of the visiting Head of State, government delegations and business leaders.

The agreement is set to be signed in Kigali today at an extraordinary Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union.

Though implementation and realisation of impacts may not be rapid, it would eventually happen, the President said.

"The continental free trade area which provides one market across the continent may not happen overnight but will absolutely happen because I think the African Continental Free Trade Area is too important to fail," he said.

Kagame, the current Chairperson of the African Union, said that it is an honour for African leaders to sign the pact on behalf of their citizens.

He also paid homage to President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger for spearheading the agreement negotiation and adoption process saying the West African leader set the pace for the framework's success.

The agreement, if implemented, could remove some of the longstanding barriers to trade on the continent.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa projections show that the agreement can drive up intra-regional trade by 52.3 per cent from the current 14 per cent.

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