A two-day training focusing on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), opened this morning, in presence of the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail,Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr. Alan Ganoo, at Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.
The event brings together a number of international officials from regional economic communities and members of regional business organisations and traders, who will join their Mauritian counterparts to engage on the important benefits that the AfCFTA can bring to African countries.
In his address, the Foreign Affairs Minister underlined that trade has metamorphosed in the recent years with value chains stretching across borders leading to more interdependence than ever before, creating vast opportunities for trade, industrialisation and growth.
Minister Ganoo highlighted that following multiple shocks amidst escalating geopolitical tensions, unsustainable rates of inflation and tighter monetary policy, continuing ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, global value chains have been severely disrupted and disproportionally impacted on Net Food Importing Countries and Small Islands Developing States.
This, he said, has prompted calls among African policy makers to bring more production to the continent, which would lead to permanent changes in the structure of regional value chains.
The Minister stressed on the need for deeper integration at the regional level and reiterated Mauritius' commitment to develop and maintain ties globally as well as regionally. At the continental level, the SADC, the COMESA, other Regional Economic Communities as well as the African Continental FTA bear testimony to this, observed the Minister.
Speaking about the African Continental FTA, Mr. Ganoo underlined that it is a key tool for Africa's development being one of the flagship projects of the African Union's Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want - the AU's long-term development strategy for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.
He rejoiced that our continent is moving in the right direction towards the "One African market", informing that to date, 54 of our countries have signed the Agreement. We are well on our way to creating the world's largest single free trade area, with 1.3-billion people and a GDP of $3.4 trillion, he added.
Furthermore, the Minister dwelt on the need of unlocking the potential of the African Continental FTA and promoting "Made in Africa" goods and services which he emphasised, is a collaborative work of both government and private sector.
It is critical for Mauritius to join the frame, for which the Government is implementing pro-African policies to improve the investment climate, reinforcing economic diplomacy, and enlarging market access to consolidate the position of Mauritius as a Continental strategic partner, stated Minister Alan Ganoo.
In his concluding remarks, the Foreign Affairs Minister assured that the Government of Mauritius will provide all the possible support for the successful implementation of Africa's historic continental free trade area.
The event is organised by Tutwa Consulting Group, a consulting firm established in South Africa and Mauritius, which is working with the USAID Africa Trade and Investment (ATI) program to provide services in advancing support to the AfCFTA. This activity seeks to support African trade priorities, including the continental vision for intra-African trade and Africa's trading position with the US. The training will focus on the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) can bring to African countries.