Zimbabwe is positioning herself to take a strategic position in the exploitation of the 1.2 billion people African market that is set to be created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo expressed optimism during a virtual extraordinary session of the executive council to discuss the AfCFTA.
Zimbabwe plans to boost the manufacturing industry and its export basket in terms of volume and variety as a key enabler in attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030.
During the meeting between African ministers responsible for trade during the session, Minister Moyo said: “We note the 1.2 billion people market that the AfCFTA is creating, which companies should exploit to derive benefits of economies of scale.
Dr Moyo said as Africa moved towards operationalisation of the AfCFTA, there was need for individual states and collectively as the African Union, to apply minds to all outstanding modalities and other technical issues ahead of commencement of trade by January 2021 as scheduled.
“Rather than bemoaning the negative effects and threats arising from AfCFTA liberalisation, the private sector should see opportunities and take advantage of the AfCFTA preferential market access,” said Dr Moyo.
Despite the adversities that included sanctions, droughts, Cyclone Idai, external debt and the Covid-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe was prepared to start trading under the AfCFTA in 2021 as scheduled.
“We are confident that by then, Zimbabwe would have finalised its tariff offer for submission to the AUC hence our preparedness to take all necessary steps to fully participate in trading, both in goods and in services under the AfCFTA,” said Dr Moyo.
The South African country is setting up a Trade Remedies Unit at the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) to deal with unfair trade practices in international trade.