Countries in Eastern Africa may seek extension of the June deadline that had been put in place for conclusion of phase one negotiations on trade barriers for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Rose Ronoh, director of trade facilitation at Kentrade, said ongoing negotiations between Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda are centered on trade in goods and trade in services.
“The negotiations will have to continue beyond the June 2021 deadline after seeking consent from the Head of States,” she said on Tuesday during a webinar on Kenya’s AfCFTA strategy.
Ronoh said the challenges affecting countries as they seek to actualize AfCFTA include lack of infrastructure that integrates countries in the region, lack of harmonized policies and overlapping laws.
George Dinda, a trade expert at Kenya’s State Department for Trade and Enterprise Development, Ministry of Industrialization, said that countries will also have to tackle issues with special economic zones which are deemed to bring unfair competition.
“In our negotiations, our aim is to ensure what is within the East African Community market is protected first before moving out to other markets,” he said.
The implementation of AfCFTA is expected to do away with tariff and non-tariff impediments to cross-border trade, boosting continental business among African nations. Enditem