The East African Business Council, COMESA, and the SADC Business Council have officially launched and formed the African Tripartite Business Council to spearhead the inclusion of private sector policy proposals in the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the African Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (ATFTA) (TFTA).
This is one of the resolutions adopted at the Consultative Meeting of Regional Business Councils on the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which was hosted by the East African Business Council (EABC) with assistance from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). “In order to speed the implementation of the Agreements, the African Tripartite Business Council will provide combined private sector policy perspectives to the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana and Tripartite Ministerial Council Meetings,” stated Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC CEO.
Mr. Kalisa urged COMESA, the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement in order to meet the 14-ratification threshold necessary for the Agreement to enter into effect.
“It is crucial for the business sector to be informed of the trade instruments of Rules of Origin, Standards, and Dispute Settlement Mechanism under the AfCFTA,” stated Mr. Dickson Poloji, CEO of COMESA Business Council.
He went on to say that the business sector should co-chair the AfCFTA implementation committees. Mr. Peter Varndell, CEO of the SADC Business Council, stated, “The African Tripartite Business Council will increase coordination and position development on AfTCFA policy-making and negotiations.”
Illicit commerce costs East Africa $500 million per year. Other resolutions presented to drive the AfCFTA agenda forward include Sustaining Political Goodwill, Capacity Building for Youth in Technology, African Local Content Policy, and African Local Content Policy. Government procurement, improved trade facilitation, cross-border infrastructure investments, removal of non-tariff barriers, resource coordination, completion of national AfCFTA strategies Increasing industrial productivity, Liberalization of African air transport services, capacity building for youth, women, and SMEs Skills development and mapping, industrialization and value addition, participation in the AfCFTA Business Forum in Dakar, and regional reaction mechanisms to global shocks, such as a regional fertilizer factory.