The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement enables the continent to better meet its trade and economic development challenges, secretariat chief for the AfCFTA said Monday.
Speaking during the transfer of the secretariat building from the Ghanaian government to the African Union (AU), secretary general of the AfCFTA secretariat Wamkele Mene said Africa remained trapped in a colonial economic model with numerous challenges.
He said the fragmentation of African national economies into small pieces and the over-reliance on the export of primary commodities, among others, were some of the challenges to intra-African trade and the continent's economic development.
"Africa continues to be trapped in a colonial economic model, which requires that we aggressively implement the AfCFTA as one of the tools for effecting a fundamental structural transformation of Africa's economy," Mene said. "We have to take action now."
The implementation phase of the AfCFTA coincides with the year of Silencing the Guns, an initiative of the AU, providing an opportunity to focus on fast-tracking Africa's economic development objectives, he said.
Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen estimated that the operationalization of the AfCFTA would address challenges of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single market to create economies of scale.
"Africa will improve its terms of trade with the rest of the world by earning higher values for its exports through value addition," Kyerematen said.