Africa’s Economic Revolution: Pan-African Parliament’s Role for Accelerating AfCFTA Implementation

H.E Wamkele Mene. Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Image courtesy of PAP Media

H.E Wamkele Mene. Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Image courtesy of PAP MediaH.E Wamkele Mene. Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Image courtesy of PAP Media

Intra-African trade has long been recognized as a crucial driver of economic growth and poverty reduction on the continent. However, various factors such as weak productive capacities, limited competitiveness, and insufficient trade between regions have hindered the growth of trade within Africa. With the Pan-African Parliament taking the lead in advocating for its implementation, Africa is poised to strengthen its position in the global economy and unlock the vast potential of intra-African trade.

Recognizing the significance of the AfCFTA in fostering economic development and prosperity for the peoples of Africa, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), as an organ of the African Union, has been actively working towards the implementation of this historic trade agreement. Under the provisions of Article 3 of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament, the PAP’s objective is to contribute to a more prosperous future for Africa by promoting collective self-reliance and economic recovery.

AfCFTA Intercontinental trade Logo. 2023

Since its establishment, the PAP has always played a crucial role in promoting intra-African trade and continental integration by advocating for the ratification and domestication of relevant trade agreements, urging the removal of trade barriers, and advocating for parliamentary oversight on trade-related matters. By working closely with the AfCFTA Secretariat and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the PAP can accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA and achieve the objectives set forth in the AU’s 2023 theme of “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation” and Agenda 2063.

One of the current key focus areas of the PAP’s efforts is to address existing trade barriers and promote trade facilitation measures. The PAP has been actively engaging with African Union Member States, urging them to ratify the AfCFTA Agreement and implement trade facilitation policies. By leveraging its parliamentary oversight and legislative functions, the PAP holds the Executive accountable for the ratification of trade agreements and the implementation of measures that facilitate trade across the continent.

The Pan-African Parliament’s role in fostering peace and security through the ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030’ for the successful implementation and acceleration of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), cannot be ignored. By providing a platform for dialogue, promoting legislative measures, and advocating for good governance, the Parliament has been working towards to the collective efforts of African countries in achieving lasting peace and stability. This, in turn, will create a conducive environment for economic integration, ensuring the sustainable development and prosperity of the African continent as a whole.

The low level of intra-African trade, currently standing at around 15%, is a significant concern that the PAP aims to address. By fostering a conducive environment for trade, including the simplification and harmonization of customs and transit procedures, the PAP aims to unlock the potential of the AfCFTA and stimulate economic growth in Africa. Moreover, the PAP recognizes the importance of the private sector and regional integration in driving the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. Through strategic partnerships with various stakeholders, including business leaders and civil society organizations, the PAP aims to mobilize support and resources to accelerate the implementation process.

The fourth Vice President of the PAP, Hon. Francois Ango Ndoutoume, closed the two-day workshop having considered all the deliberations and said that while the continent has many challenges, “What we may see as Africa’s weaknesses today, will grow to be its strengths tomorrow.” Image courtesy of PAP Media

In a two-day workshop organized by the PAP in March, the discussions focused on unbundling the AfCFTA Agreement and defining the role of the Pan-African Parliament in expediting its implementation. Participants, including PAP Members, Regional Economic Communities, and representatives from the private sector and civil society, explored strategies, opportunities, and challenges related to the AfCFTA. The workshop aims to facilitate knowledge sharing and foster collaboration among stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the trade agreement.

Best practices and lessons learned from the private sector on trading among African countries were also shared, enabling MPs to identify areas where their intervention is needed. Moreover, effective mechanisms and strategies for the acceleration of the AfCFTA implementation were identified, and the PAP’s proactive role in the development of the African continent through the AfCFTA was highlighted by the Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat, H.E. Wamkele Mene who attended the PAP session as a guest speaker.


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