Zambia to host Africa summit on challenges, opportunities provided by African Continental Free Trade Area


Zambia is scheduled to host the ninth edition of the Africa summit in Lusaka next month, which seeks to address the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The summit would serve as crucial platform for AfCFTA, dedicated to addressing the challenges and accelerate its implementation.

Read more: The importance of industrialization for African continental free trade area by Sydney Mwamba

Acting Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Nalituba Mwale, said this during a media briefing in Lusaka on Tuesday.

In a speech read on her behalf by Director Industry, Musokotwane Sichizuwe, Mwale said that for the AfCFA to achieve its envisioned potential, effective and thorough implementation was essential.

She said this required an informed approach, grounded in evidence, data and best practices, noting that institutional capacity and coordination were also prerequisite for successful implementation of AfCFTA.

Mwale said it was important to strengthen the capacity gap among member states which was critical in ensuring equitable participation and benefit sharing, aligning with the AfCTA’s objectives.

“To address these challenges and accelerate AfCFTA’s implementation in line with the African Union theme for this year which is, “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation,” it is imperative that we forge stronger links between evidence, policies, and practices.

“Informed decision-making, policy coherence and integrated policy frameworks guided by robust evidence are essential,” she said.

Mwale further added that knowledge sharing and experiences can pave the way for effective policies and practices.

“Establishing inclusive platforms for dialogue, public-private partnerships, and actionable recommendations will be instrumental in driving AfCFTA’s successful implementation,” she said.

Speaking at the event, Africa Network of Agriculture Policy Research Institutes (ANAPRI) Executive Director, Nalishabo Meebelo, said they formerly believed in the use of high-quality evidence as the foundation for informing policy making at national, regional and continental levels.

Meebelo stated that evidence based policies were crucial to improving the livelihoods of the people and to building resilient and prosperous economies.

“Policy decisions are more effective when they are informed by available data and analytics and when they are backed by good monitoring and evaluation as well regular reporting and mutual accountability for results and impact.

“We need evidence that is backed by rational, rigorous and systematic analyses to produce better results and concrete impact on the ground,” she said.

ACBF Executive Secretary, Mamadou Biteye, said the AfCFA agreement was poised to transform Africa’s economic landscape.

He noted that the world bank showed that by 2035, the AfCFTA could facilitate the reduction of extreme poverty of 30 million inhabitants and increase the income of 68 million other people who live on less than US$5.50 a day.

Biteye said the summit would analyse and raise awareness of the data and evidence gaps to support the successful and effective implementation of the AfCFTA

“Identify key capacity and critical technical skills challenges faced by critical institutions and actors that could jeopardize the implementation of the AfCFTA,” he said.

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