The AfCFTA ushers in a new epoch in intra-African trade

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) ushers in a significant milestone in our collective journey towards establishing a unified African market, promoting trade, and propelling sustainable and inclusive growth across the continent. This was said by the Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Realtions at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Calvin Phume, during the AfCFTA awareness workshop which took place in Johannesburg.

The workshop was part of a series that the dtic is rolling out nationally from May-July 2023.  The inaugural workshop took place in KwaZulu-Natal last week and was a rousing success.  Businesspeople who attended the session welcomed the progress and benefits that the AfCFTA will afford their respective businesses once implemented.

According to Phume, the AfCFTA presents a distinctive opportunity for Africa to achieve economic emancipation, resulting in job creation, poverty alleviation, improved welfare, and sustainable development. He further stated that the AfCFTA represents a remarkable achievement, signifying South Africa’s shared commitment to harnessing the potential of trade to drive growth, generate employment, and uplift the lives of millions of people throughout the continent.

“The AfCFTA strives to ensure inclusivity, particularly for women, youth, and those residing in rural areas, while focusing on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and overall industrialisation of Africa. As a flagship project of Agenda 2063, the AfCFTA aims to establish a unified African market for goods and services, facilitated by the free movement of individuals, capital, and investments. This integration will further promote sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality, industrialisation, agricultural advancement, food security, and structural transformation,” he stated.

Additionally, Phume emphasised that the workshop served as a crucial platform for equipping provincial stakeholders with the necessary knowledge and insights regarding the AfCFTA.

“By fostering awareness and understanding, we aim to empower participants to seize the abundant opportunities and benefits that the AfCFTA offers. The workshop showcased the government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that all regions and communities are well-informed and actively participate in this landmark initiative,” said Phume.

The upcoming destination for the nationwide initiative of workshops promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area is Limpopo, scheduled for Friday, 9 June 2023.


*** The Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Calvin Phume speaking at the African Continental Free Trade Area awareness workshop in Johannesburg ***
the dtic launches AfCFTA roadshows to provinces

Gauteng Province

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (the dtic) and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) are pleased to announce the upcoming workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The event is scheduled to take place at Constitutional Hill in Gauteng on Monday, 5 June 2023 at 09:00, as part of a nationwide series of workshops.

Following the successful inaugural workshop in KwaZulu-Natal last week, this workshop aims to engage with the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), women-owned businesses, and youth-owned export ready businesses.

The AfCFTA seeks to establish a large single continental market, encompassing a population of approximately 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately USD 3.4 trillion. By participating in preferential trade beyond the Southern African region, South African companies can unlock significant progress and benefits for their respective businesses.

According to the Chief Director of Africa Multilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Sandile Tyini, the workshop seeks to communicate and engage with the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as women and youth-owned export ready businesses on the status of the implementation of the AfCFTA, including opportunities for South African companies to participate in preferential trade beyond the Southern African region.

“The workshop will focus on six sector master plans, namely steel and metal fabrication; agriculture and agro-processing; retail-clothing, textiles, footwear, and leather (R-CTFL) value chain; automotive industry; sugar value chain; and forestry. These workshops will also identify companies, within the provinces, in the targeted sector master plans, as well as other priority sectors that wish to export to the rest of the continent.  In addition, the workshops will expose export ready companies to the benefits of exporting under the AfCFTA,” says Tyini.

The AfCFTA presents tremendous opportunities for South African companies to expand and diversify their export base beyond traditional markets in Southern Africa. By exploring new markets in North, West, Central, and Eastern Africa, businesses can tap into previously untapped potential. The continental free trade area also includes mechanisms to support emerging producers, SMEs, as well as women and youth entrepreneurs, enabling them to participate and benefit from the opportunities it offers.

Limpopo

The Limpopo private sector will be exposed to export opportunities that are presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will happen during the Limpopo leg of the awareness workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. The workshop will be hosted at Bolivia Lodge, Polokwane, Limpopo Province on Friday, 9 June 2023 by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), in partnership with Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA).

This is part of a series of workshops that the department is rolling out throughout the country from May-July 2023.  The inaugural workshop took place in KwaZulu-Natal last week and was a success.  Businesspeople who attended the KZN session welcomed the progress and benefits that the AfCFTA will afford their respective businesses once implemented.

According to the Chief Director of Africa Multilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Sandile Tyini, the workshop seeks to communicate and engage with the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as women and youth-owned export ready businesses on the status of the implementation of the AfCFTA, including opportunities for South African companies to participate in preferential trade beyond the Southern African region.  The AfCFTA intends to create a large single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately USD3.4 trillion

“These workshops will also identify companies, within the provinces, in the targeted sector master plans, as well as other priority sectors that wish to export to the rest of the continent.  In addition, the workshops will expose export ready companies to the benefits of exporting under the AfCFTA,” says Tyini.

“The six sector master plans targeted for these workshops are steel and metal fabrication; agriculture and agro-processing; retail-clothing, textiles, footwear and leather (R-CTFL) value chain; automotive industry; sugar value chain; and forestry.  Limpopo workshop will focus on agriculture and agro-processing; sugar value chain; forestry; as well as retail-clothing, textiles, footwear and leather (R-CTFL) value chain,” adds Tyini.

He explains the AfCFTA offers enormous opportunities for South African companies to expand and diversify their export base and volume beyond traditional export markets in Southern Africa, by exposing them to new markets in North, West, Central and Eastern Africa. The AfCFTA also provide mechanisms for emerging producers, SMEs as well as women and youth entrepreneurs to participate and benefit from the opportunities provided by the continental free trade area.

“This workshop is critical to enterprise development in Limpopo.  It comes at an opportune time when our province envisions to stimulate and scale up manufacturing of the industrial base, mining and agriculture in the main.  Agriculture is one of the growth sectors and through this workshop, the province is poised to position enterprises for opportunities in this market for finished agriculture products,” says the Group Chief Executive Officer of LEDA, Mr Thakhani Makhuvha.

KwaZulu-Natal

A number of businesspeople attending the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provincial workshop in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal welcomed the progress and benefits that the AfCFTA will afford their businesses and export opportunities once implemented.

During their engagements with officials from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) today, companies doing business in the continent highlighted some of the challenges they encounter in the movement of goods and servives around Africa.

Issues regarding the cost of doing business in African regions, competitiveness, excessive imports from China, lack of manufacturing support, and energy security were raised and discussed for government intervention and support.

Addressing delegates at the workshop, the Director of Africa Bilateral Economic Relations at the dtic, Mr Calvin Phume said today’s workshop served as a crucial platform for fostering awareness and understanding of the AfCFTA among the private sector in KZN, including Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), as well as women and youth owned enterprises.

“It is a testament to our dedication as government to ensuring that all regions and communities are well-informed and actively participate in this landmark initiative.  By providing you with the necessary knowledge and insights, we aim to empower you to seize the abundant opportunities and benefits that the AfCFTA offers,” said Phume.

He further said the AfCFTA represents a remarkable achievement symbolising Africa’s collective commitment to harnessing the potential of trade to drive growth, create jobs, and uplift the lives of millions of people across the continent.

“While the AfCFTA promises numerous benefits, we must also acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead.  We need to address infrastructure gaps, enhance logistics and transportation networks, strengthen regulatory frameworks, and build the necessary capacities to fully exploit the potential of the agreement.  This workshop serves as a platform for dialogue and collaboration, enabling us to identify and overcome these challenges together,” he said.

Speaking at the same workshop, the Executive Manager of Export Promotion at TIKZN, Mr Claude Moodley said as of 2021, KwaZulu-Natal’s total exports to Africa from R20.7 billion in 2020 to R51.8 billion 2021.

“It makes sense for KwaZulu-Natal enterprises to export to markets in Africa, particularly those further north on the continent. Our province’s businesses should capitalise on important competitive advantages and other benefits that have always been the core  of our industries given the growth potential, rapidly developing economies, and growing consumer base,” said Moodley.

On the spillover benefits of intra-African trade for the province’s businesses, Moodley said their companies on the continent would gain from trade diversification, which enables nations to develop resilience to swing in demand brought on by economic downturns and price adjustments in importing nations.

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Enquiries:
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
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E-mail: BLukhele@thedtic.gov.za
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).