Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Seychelles begins domestic consultations on AfCFTA


Seychelles begins domestic consultations on AfCFTA

Seychelles begins domestic consultations on AfCFTA
Photo credit: Seychelles Nation

A national committee set up to discuss the Seychelles intention of joining the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) held its first meeting recently.

The committee consists of various agencies and organisations concerned such as the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), department of Foreign Affairs, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the National Assembly of Seychelles and others.

The meeting, held at Liberty House, was led by the local chief negotiator on commerce, Charlie Morin, who said the committee was formed to assist the government so that Seychelles is prepared and has a national position when formal negotiations begins with the AU.

Seychelles was among the 44 out of the 55 African Union (AU) member states which signed the consolidated text of the AfCFTA agreement. To become legal, the agreement first needs to be ratified by the National Assembly of Seychelles.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.

It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation and instruments across the RECs (Regional Economic Communities) and across Africa in general.

The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

“Different ministries, organisations, private sectors have met so they can be informed on what the agreement is all about. They will deliberate on the works that other committees will do once they have been set up. They will also lead decisions and position of the government of Seychelles, through the department of Trade, while negotiating this agreement with the AU,” said Mr Morin.

AfCFTA is the biggest free trade agreement since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The agreement is set to bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.

The agreement will also liberalise services and aims to tackle so-called “non-tariff barriers” which hamper trade between African countries, such as long delays at the border. Eventually, free movement of people and even a single currency could become part of the free trade area. By creating a single continental market for goods and services, the member states of the African Union hope to boost trade between African countries.


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