$7.9 Billion in Exports glid in 2021 from the East African Community (EAC) Bloc to Africa amidst the Novel Corona Virus (COVID -19) Consequence
By Abdul Rahman Bangura-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone-Disclosed in Kigali Rwanda, in the previous week, during a private sector sensitization workshop on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). EAC exports to Africa comprised precious stones, coffee, tea, mineral oil, iron, steel, and cement. 42% of the region’s total exports of goods to the world was $18.7 billion during the period of COVID-19COVID-19.
The session was coordinated by the East African Business Council (EABC), an apex assemblage of private sector associations in alliance with GIZ – a German Aid Agency. John Bosco Kalisa – EABC Executive Director announced, intra-Africa goods exports reaches $82.2 billion in 2019. He exhorted South Sudan to accept the AfCFTA pact like the comfort of the member states; Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, and D R Congo. This brought concurrently thirty industries in Rwanda who comprehended about the AfCFTA trade-in-goods protocol and its branches. Amongst others are the Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession, and the implications of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the EAC bloc. Kalisa was highlighting that, the private sector players were the fundamental implementers of the continental trade pact.
“EAC bloc has great potential to export vegetables, tea, rice, coffee, sugar, textile products, soap, sesame, seeds, edible oils, tubers and milk to the continent,” he stated. AfCFTA agreements is geared towards to improve intra-African trade through the incremental elimination of over 90% tariffs on goods, removal of NTBs and other trade regulations.
Denis Karera – EABC Vice Chair, encouraged the private sector actors in Rwanda to boost their capacity on AfCFTA “and take the leading role in the AfCFTA agenda”. Antoine Kajangwe, a Senior Trade official in Rwanda’s Trade and Industry Ministry, said import duties (tariffs) under AfCFTA will be deducted progressively to zero by 2025 to 90% of the virtually 6,000 products.
Rwanda started trading under AfCFTA with the first shipment of ‘Igere Coffee’, it’s premium coffee, to Ghana in September 2022 under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative. He challenged other, private stakeholders to appreciate the challenges Rwanda went through before it successfully entered the Ghana market.
It is foreseen that the researches will guide the Rwandan private sector in permeating other markets in Africa supposed to have enormous abilities such as DR Congo and Cote D’ Ivoire.
“Let’s take advantage of the market of the 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product valued at $3.4 trillion which will be created by AfCFTA” Kajangwe told.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent