Business sector urged to prepare for AfCFTA

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NAMIBIAN business communities have been urged to prepare to take full advantage of the benefits offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Deputy Minister of Industrialization and Trade Verna Sinimbo made the call when she launched the AfCFTA awareness campaign in Windhoek yesterday.

She said the business sector should increase production capacities, diversify and add value to raw materials, as well as ensure that the country’s products find their export market on the African continent.

Sinimbo said the CFTA agreement is expected to increase intra-African trade and strengthen regional and continental value chains through the creation of viable and competitive industries on the continent.

“This could lead to innovation, job opportunities and wealth creation for the African people, especially women and youth,” Sinimbo said.

Urging the business sector to be ready, she said Namibia was finalizing its tariff offer to the AfCFTA under the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and would soon launch its National Implementation Strategy and its action plan.

The Deputy Minister said that the AfCFTA Secretariat has already made available the commercial documents that will accompany Namibian exports, such as the AfCFTA Rules of Origin Certificate and Supplier Declaration Form.

These documents will be made available by the Namibian Revenue Agency when trading begins, she said.

“It is also important to note that the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System was developed to ensure that trade under the AfCFTA would be conducted through African currencies,” she said.

This means that Namibian exporters, including informal traders, will now be able to settle their import bills using local currency and receive payments in local currency when exporting goods and services to the mainland.

“It will facilitate trade and also keep trade costs to a minimum,” she told the audience, which included the UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Alka Bhatia and other dignitaries, as well as senior officials. governmental.

Namibian exporters will also have access to trade information, such as applicable tariffs and schedules of specific commitments on trade in services, she said.

“This will instantly provide information to traders on the duties that a specific product attracts in all African countries, as well as laws and regulations applicable to service sectors, thus improving predictability.”

The Deputy Minister said that the Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with the Namibia Trade Forum, an agency under the ministry, will continue to provide the necessary information and ensure that traders are well equipped and ready to trade in under the ZLEC agreement.

“We must also ensure that women, youth and informal traders are aware of the agreement through all available public-private dialogue platforms,” ​​she said.

Namibia has negotiated, signed and ratified the agreement establishing the AfCFTA.

The agreement was signed in March 2018 by African Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda, and entered into force on May 30, 2019.

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