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African Ambassadors call for accelerated implementation of AfCFTA, SAATM

Addis Ababa, May 26, 2023 (FBC) – The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), in collaboration with the ambassadors of the African group of the diplomatic corps accredited to Senegal, organized a High-level round table on «The status, challenges and prospects of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM)».

It is sated that the round table is a IDEP contribution to the celebration of Africa Day, celebrated on May 25, and that coincides this year with the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), under the slogan “Our Africa, Our Future”.

This year, the theme chosen is in line with the African Union’s 2023 theme of “The Year of the AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”.

The theme aims to generate greater political commitment to trade as a development agenda for Africa.

It will serve to mobilize solutions and solidarity to turn this vision into reality, with a view to building linkages with member states, AU organs, private sector actors, development partners and other stakeholders, who have important roles to play in accelerating the implementation of the AfCFTA.

An effective functioning of the SAATM, on its turn, would allow residents of the region gain in comfort and choice of airlines, reduced flight times, business opportunities, and strengthened cultural ties through the progressive development of business and leisure tourism” highlighted Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, IDEP Director.

“There are many obstacles but the AfCFTA offers opportunities towards the creation of a single market in Africa. We have established three protocols on investment, competition and intellectual property which are pillars in the implementation and all of this would not be possible without the partners who are committed to supporting the AfCFTA so that we go beyond the trade agreements,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat.

At the end of the exchanges, the ambassadors called on the countries to show more commitment to remove the existing barriers in the implementation of the two projects. A regional approach is needed to raise awareness and support non-performing states. The role of the private sector and civil society was highlighted as necessary for the acceleration of the implementation of the AfCFTA and SAATM.

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