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Stakeholders call for continental free trade agreement

Some Business Leaders have called on Ministers and Heads of State to ensure they stick to the deadline of July 1 for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to come into force.

The African Union Ministerial Meeting will be meeting next week to discuss the trade response to COVID-19 and the state of the Free Trade Agreement.

In a letter to stakeholders signed by former Executive Director, World Bank and Chair of Executive Committee of AfroChampions, Paulo Gomes, the Business Leaders argued that there was no legitimate reason to postpone the AfCFTA agreement till next year as negotiations and talks could take place virtually.

The AfroChampions network has been mandated by the African Union (AU) to coordinate private sector discussions around the AfCFTA. 

They urged the AU ministers to respect the current deadline, saying it will send a strong message to the world that Africa is serious about the AfCFTA and its businesses. 

The letter which pointed out that with supply chains been disrupted globally due to COVID-19 pandemic, stressed the urgent need for Africa to have a functioning system within the continent to create continental supply chains.

Annabel Nwachukwu

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