AU, ARSO strategise to achieve CFTA 2017 timeline
Preparatory to the 2017 timeline for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa, standards bodies in the continent have commenced plans to review commitments and collaborations that will aid the realization of the deadline.
Already, three Regional Economic Communities (RECs)—the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC)—have reached an agreement to expedite the process towards the operationalization of the tripartite Free Trade Area by finalising outstanding issues, therefore leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region behind.
African representatives at the African Commission’s 52nd ARSO Council Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the theme “The Role of Standards in Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, are however optimistic of realizing the goal by the targeted year.
Indeed, part of the meeting agenda is to review the progress made so far and firm up commitments to the programme approved by African Ministers of Trade in 2012.
Head, Trade Division of the Commission, Nadir Merah, while welcoming delegates on behalf of the Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, to the Conference, said Africa was close to realising the lofty dream given the rate of collaboration and cooperation among members of African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
“We see a clear role that standards can play in boosting intra-African trade, promoting sustainable agriculture and food security in Africa. By working together on standards, we will promote continental trade integration and facilitate access to African markets.
“I would like to recall the historic 2012 Summit Decision on boosting intra African trade.