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AfCFTA pledges support for private sector bill of rights to facilitate intra-African trade

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has pledged support for the Private Sector Bill of Rights (PSBoR) to establish a conducive trade and investment climate in intra-African trade. 

This is contained in a statement by Grace Khoza, principal communications advisor, AfCFTA Secretariat, on Sunday.

The statement said the PSBoR leverages the protocols of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the AfCFTA Agreement, ratified by 47 African countries, and signed by 54 member states as of yet.

It said the Bill was a pioneering initiative proposed by the Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS) in partnership with the Pan Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI).

“In a bid to work in close partnership with the private sector, the AfCFTA Secretariat hosted a private sector session in collaboration with APSS, which led an ecosystem-based side event at the just concluded Intra-African Trade Fair [IATF] 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

“The event emphasised the importance of the Charter on Private Sector Development, Rights and Protection of Environment in Africa and the PSBoR for an enabling business environment in Africa.

“The AfCTFA Secretariat is committed to supporting the private sector and therefore brings the PSBoR into mainstream African economic integration discussions by leading the APSS ecosystem-based intervention,” the statement said. 

When fully implemented, the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent, lift 30 million people out of poverty, and increase the continent’s gross domestic product by a billion dollars by 2035.

The statement quoted the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, as saying, “The PSBoR will be included in the AfCFTA report to the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the AU in February 2024.”

It also quoted Kingsley Moghalu, the APSS Chairman, as saying, “Only 16 per cent of Africa’s global trade is regional within the continent, in stark contrast to 68 per cent in Europe, 59 per cent in Asia, and 30 per cent in North America.

“When fully implemented, the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent, lift 30 million people out of poverty, and increase the continent’s gross domestic product by a billion dollars by 2035.”

Mr Moghalu emphasised the PSBoR Charter as a companion instrument to RECs and AfCFTA, vital in delivering the vision encapsulated in the AU’s Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want.”

The statement said the Joint AfCFTA Private Sector Session marked a groundbreaking step towards creating a single African market through the AfCFTA and was led by the private sector.

It said participants were exhorted to encourage their respective business associations, chambers of commerce, regulatory institutions, and governmental bodies at national and subnational levels to warmly embrace the PSBoR.

“The bill should be embraced as an instrument for creating the enabling business environment the continent needs to achieve Agenda 2063,” the statement added. (NAN)

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