By Olimatou Coker
The government of the Gambia stands ready to support the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) at all levels, according to trade and integration minister Lamin Jobe.
He made the remarks last week at a two-day workshop on the AfCFTA, organised by his ministry in collaboration with Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) of UNDESA and UNDP.
The workshop brought together key national stakeholders to discuss the AfCFTA especially in terms of The Gambia’s readiness for implementing the agreement and seizing the opportunities it offers.
“We believe that the country will derive significant benefits from AfCFTA. This therefore informed our active participation in the negotiations from inception, and we are committed to its full and effective implementation as we move towards important processes,” minister Jobe remarked.
Aissata De, UNDP country representative, said the agreement establishing the AfCFTA is a key milestone in Africa’s integration agenda.
“The AFCFTA is expected to be a key engine of economic growth, industrialisation and sustainable development in Africa, in line with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the AU agenda 2063 for the Africa we want.”
According to her, when the initiative comes into force, it will cover a single market of 1.2 billion people and a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion, across all 55 member states of the African Union.
Edrisa Mass Jobe, president of Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GCCI, said: “…We believe that a large free trade area in Africa will amplify the potential for economic transformation in the region.”
Other speakers were Ms Saras Jagwanth, UNDESA representative and Konzi Tei, Ecowas Commission’s trade department.
The AfCFTA is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.
he free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.