By Africa Moyo
ONE of the United Nations’ five regional commissions, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) believes Zimbabwe is poised to attract more capital for its mining sector on the back of dismantled borders following the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
ECA regional director for Southern Africa Mr Said Adejumobi told delegates during the National Consultative Forum on the AfCFTA held in Harare from June 19 to 20 that more capital would be attracted especially by the platinum and chrome sub-sectors.
The forum — which was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa Office for Southern Africa (ECA-SA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) — ran under the theme “Expanding Industrial and Trade Growth through the AfCFTA”.
Mr Adejumobi said: “Zimbabwe, having the second largest platinum and chrome deposits and fifth largest lithium (deposits) in the world, can attract investment capital across the continent as the barriers to free trade and investments are deconstructed through the AfCFTA.”
He added that a robust national strategy on the AfCFTA, with committed implementation of the strategy, “can support Zimbabwe’s efforts of economic renewal and consolidation”.
The ECA provided technical and financial assistance in the development of Zimbabwe’s national strategy.
Mr Adejumobi praised Zimbabwe for ratifying the AfCFTA on May 24, saying it was a step “in the right direction” as the country “is poised to be a winner in the AfCFTA initiative”.
He also said the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), a short-term economic blueprint that runs from October last year to 2020, “speaks to the imperatives of the AfCFTA”.
“. . . goals of export competitiveness, smart agriculture, beneficiation and value addition of the country’s mineral resources, resuscitation of the industrial sector, growth of tourism, and promoting a digital economy can seek value and expression in the AfCFTA,” he said.
Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou said Government was “fully aware” of the challenges faced by the manufacturing sector and the potential risks that come with trade liberalisation.
He said Government has since entered a reservation on modalities for tariff liberalisation and is making necessary negotiations with other member states for a “longer tariff phase-down period of 15 years rather than five years for developing countries as per the adopted modalities”.
Ambassador Manzou also said they will source lines of credit to capacitate the manufacturing sector.
The agreement establishing the AfCFTA seeks to create a single market for goods and services, facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen economic integration of the continent in tandem with the Pan African vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, enshrined in Agenda 2063.
The AfCFTA, which was established on March 21 last year in Kigali, Rwanda, during the AU Extraordinary Summit, will also cover disciplines that go beyond trade in goods and services to include investment, competition and intellectual property.
All 55 member states of the African Union would be brought together, covering a market of over 1,2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3,4 trillion.
Estimates from UNECA suggest that AfCFTA has potential to boost intra-African trade by over 50 percent through elimination of import duties.
UNECA was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states.
Source : The Herald