Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called for the speedy formation of
the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) to bolster trade and growth in
Speaking to a contingent of military personnel from the East African
Community block at Butaleja district on Thursday, Museveni said that a
continental free trade zone would facilitate trade in the region.
“A large part of Africa was colonized and fractured by colonialists. I
salute the current breed of leaders in Africa because they are united. The most
important agenda at the moment is to form a continental customs block. We
talked about it in the previous meeting and worked out modalities to achieve
the goal,” Museveni said.
|His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda (Photo: Cnn)|
The decision to form the CFTA was adopted in January 2012 during the 18th
Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Head of States and Government of the
African Union (AU).
The CFTA is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and
services with free movement of businesses and investments. This, according to
AU, will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental
Customs Union and the African Customs Union.
“Africa is a rich continent in both natural and labor resources. The
only missing link is the free trade zone. Since we adopted this as an agenda in
last year’s meeting in Addis Ababa, I’m content it’s an effort about to reach
fruition,” Museveni said.
With a total of 54 countries under the AU umbrella body in the continent and
a population of over 1 billion people, the CFTA is expected to enhance Africa’s
internal and external trade performances.
Fred Muhumuza, an economist of the Makerere University, said that the main
benefit in establishing the CFTA would be the elimination of import duties and
non-tariff barriers that have impeded free trade in Africa.
“Africa at present has many regional customs blocks, but all these
permit free trade with a given customs region. Having a continental customs
block will open up the continent to free trade and a lot of opportunities. How
the more powerful economies in the continent respond to this call is vital to
its formation process,” Muhumuza said.