Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Minister Davies concludes AU Ministers of Trade meeting in Niger


Minister Davies concludes AU Ministers of Trade meeting in Niger

Minister Davies concludes AU Ministers of Trade meeting in Niger
Photo credit: The dti

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has arrived back in South Africa from the Republic of Niger where he participated in the 3rd African Union (AU) Ministers of Trade Meeting from 15-16 June 2017. The AU Ministers of Trade was officially opened by H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger and Champion of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

The Ministerial meeting, which was preceded by the 6th CFTA Negotiating Forum and the 3rd meeting of Senior Trade Officials, adopted the Modalities for Tariff Negotiations and Trade in Services.

Minister Davies says this will facilitate the exchange of tariff and services offers, as well as the finalisation of the CFTA Agreement. Minister Davies emphasised the importance of enhancing intra-Africa trade and investment, and regional economic integration through the CFTA. The CFTA negotiations were launched by the AU Heads of State and Government during their Assembly in June 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Minister Davies says the CFTA that is currently under negotiation can be a driver of structural transformation for sustained economic growth and enhanced intra-Africa trade and investment in the continent.

“South Africa is, therefore, committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over 1 billion people and approximately US$2.6 trillion,” said Davies.

The 2nd meeting of the AU Ministers of Trade held in November 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adopted the Terms of Reference for the Technical Working Groups for the of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

The meeting also discussed the state of play and preparations for the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the implications on Africa’s developmental priorities and the CFTA. The ministers agreed to have a dedicated informal session of African Ministers of Trade to engage and coordinate Africa’s position on the WTO.

Ministers further welcomed the offer of the Republic of Togo to host the 16th session of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in August this year and agreed to assess future US-Africa relations in line with the new USA administration’s Trade Policy released in March 2017. The 15th AGOA Forum was held in Washington last year under the theme “Maximizing US-Africa Trade and Investment: AGOA and Beyond”.

Earlier in the week, during the US-Africa Business Summit held in Washington D.C, African Ministers requested the USA Government to provide clarity on its policy approach to US-Africa relations. This was the first engagement that was held with President Donald Trump’s administration.

The President of the Republic of Niger has been mandated to report on the outcomes of the AU Ministers of Trade and progress made in the CFTA negotiations to the AU Summit next month.

For legal texts and other documents from the CFTA negotiations, please visit our CFTA resources page.


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