Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA)

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By Ventura Kireki

 

Things are finally looking up for Africa!

The just-concluded summit that was held in Kigali, Rwanda, from the 17th to 21st March ended on a high note as majority of the African Heads of States signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement. 

You may wonder, what is the big deal? What does this really mean for Africa as a continent? Well simply put, this will lead to a distinguished integration within the African community. Unity! This is a much-needed value for Africa and it is great that our leaders have finally voiced it out through their signing of the agreement.

“Our people, our business community and our youth, in particular, cannot wait any longer to see the lifting of the barriers that divide our continent, hinder its economic takeoff and perpetuate misery, even though Africa is abundantly endowed with wealth.”

AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat

We are all one as Africans and breaking off the chains of separation that were bound to us is the first step to claiming our victory and showing our true potential as a continent. It is at such moments that we pause for a minute and remember philosophies such as Pan African-ism which force us to go back to our roots and remember how far we have come and how far we need to go. It is well known that if the roots of a tree are not firmly ground on the earth, then the tree cannot stand. From our African heritage we are able to believe in ourselves and shape a better future for us.

A new dawn is upon us. The free trade idea brings with it good tidings as it envisions reduced tariffs for trade, increased interactions among nations and eventually improved economic growth. However, for this to be achieved, meticulous planning and implementation will have to be done. Accountability also has a major role in all this. Just as a tree needs to be constantly watered so do our leaders need to set up measures and policies that will ensure this project becomes a success. In the same train of thought, just as branches that bear bad fruits are pruned, policies that are not beneficial or that have failed previously should be done away with.

What about States that have not signed the agreement?

Well change is not usually embraced by all at first. It is up to those who believe that this will work for Africa to bring the rest on board through leading by example and letting them see the benefits of this agreement.

Kudos to our leaders for this great step and kudos to our President, His Excellency, Honorable Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta for being part of this change. Kenya is proud.

His Excellency Honorable Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the President of Kenya signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement at the summit held in Kigali, Rwanda

Onward and upwards Africa!