By Takunda Maodza
ZIMBABWE will play her part and pledges full support to the African Continental Free Trade Area and is currently undertaking internal processes to ratify the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment, President Mnangagwa has said.
He made the remarks on Sunday during a closed door session of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The President’s support for continental free trade dovetails with his own “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra that supports foreign direct investment and is a key cog in attaining an upper middle income status as envisioned in Vision 2030.
“I wish to assure this august body that Zimbabwe will play its party and pledges her full support to the African Continental Free Trade Area,” said President Mnangagwa.
“As I congratulate those among us who have already ratified the ACFTA agreement and deposited their instruments of ratification, I wish to inform you that my Government is currently undertaking internal processes to ratify the Agreement and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.
“It is in that context that we are hoping that the legitimate concerns raised by Zimbabwe and other members on the level of ambition on tariff liberalisation will be addressed expeditiously.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was ready and looked forward to participating in negotiations of Phase II issues that include the Protocol on Investment, the Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights and the Protocol on Competition Policy.
“These are key issues that are in line with our mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ and our vision to become an upper middle-income country by 2030,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the coming into force of the ACFTA will significantly promote investment, reduce cost of doing business across Africa and boost intra-continental trade.
“The signing and ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment and its Implementation Roadmap, will greatly benefit all our people across the continent and further facilitate the ACFTA,” said President Mnangagwa.
“As you are aware, free movement of people not only has a significant impact on intra-African trade, but also boosts tourism and increases cultural exchanges, thereby furthering the integration within our continent.”
African leaders signed a framework for the establishment of ACFTA in Rwanda in March 2018.
So far, about 50 African countries have signed the agreement, but others want certain issues addressed first.
The ACFTA is expected to unite Africa’s 1,07 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of US$3,3 trillion in one market.
Source : The Herald