By Tatenda Mujeyi
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) conference held in Harare ended yesterday with multiple recommendations that Zimbabwe can employ to better the free trade process.
Recommendations that the conference made on the Free Trade agreement include capacity building, effective communication, transparency, information flow, renewable energy promotion, improvements on macro-economic environment and private sector among other issues.
The Summit which started Wednesday and ended on Thursday this week was a collaborative initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the African Union Commission and other key stakeholders to facilitate Zimbabwe’s implementation of the continental free trade agreement.
Capacity Building was realised as a key recommendation that required to be implemented for the gains of ACFTA to be fully realised.
“Capacity building is a key strategy that needs to be employed for the benefits of ACFTA to be fully realised. We should think of institutional capacity as not only applying to government but the private sector as well,” Consultant for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Stella Mushiri said at the event.
Border post improvements were realised as a major working area that required urgent attention for the free trade agreement to realise full benefits.
“Improvements need to be made on the borders, infrastructural improvements, logistical improvements, strengthening performance of border agents should be employed without straining government resources as the private sector can contribute,” Mushiri said.
The consultation recommended the incorporation of Youth and Women who despite standing central in the production process remained marginalised.
“In putting to use the technological front of business the youth have already taken pace in the Inter-continental free trading approach. However, Government continues to deprive us of the necessary support to see to our development from the informal sector to more formalised operations,” Sharleen Moyo, the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) Zimbabwe Executive Director said at the event.
Continental trade barriers were realised as a key priority area that needed to be redressed in order to potentially fully turn the benefits of ACFTA into reality.
“Continental trade barriers that include communication, trust issues, logistics need to be addressed to fully realise the benefits of Free trade. Zimtrade should transform their operations and present more data on the trading tends so that information can be easily transformed into power,” Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) President Henry Ruzvidzo said.
The recommendations brought about through the consultation should foster for more informed operations in dealing with African Continental Free Trade issues and conformations.