Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Christopher Yaluma, has said government in the Southern African landlocked country is working towards ratifying the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) by May 2020.
Yaluma said so far government has undertaken necessary consultations with the private sector, civil society, non state actors and academia on the implementation of the agreement.
He pointed out that the Zambian government has emphasised on sensitisation to stakeholders on the value and benefits that will come be because of Zambia’s participation in the ACFTA.
Yaluma was speaking at a public seminar launching a “Special Study” report on the ACFTA implementation being held on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Ordinary Session Heads of State Summit.
He explained that Zambia was fully aware of the potential challenges that could arise in an event that the country was not sufficiently prepared for its participation.
The minister added that the ACFTA will mainly be driven by the private sector firms and must have products and services to compete on a larger scale and market.
“Zambia was continuously working towards enhancing capacity of the private sector in order to ensure that their goods and services were export ready,” he noted.
Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu signed the ACFTA on 10th February,2019 in Addis Ababa. The Agreement comes into effect on 1st July, 2020 and once operational, the ACFTA will bring together 55 African Countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross Domestic product of more than $3.4trn.