ADDIS ABABA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is a key opportunity for Central Africa governments and beyond to build upon regional integration strategies.
The UNECA, in its latest publication on unlocking the full potential of the AfCFTA with a case study for the Central Africa region, said the free trade pact would enhance intra-regional trade as well as trade with continental partners.
The UNECA underscored the need for African countries to tap into the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA to build upon their respective national and regional integration strategies.
Free trade under the AfCFTA Agreement officially started in January 2021. In response, Central African governments began developing national AfCFTA implementation strategies with the support of the UNECA and its partners. A sub-regional AfCFTA strategy for Central Africa is also under development.
Noting that trade strategies are linked to the productive capacity of each country, the UNECA said the development of trade strategies requires direct linkages with the national industrialization plans which advocate industrialization based on natural resources and driven by trade.
Preliminary results of its research, entitled "Industrialization and Economic Diversification - Keys to Unlocking the Full Potential of the AfCFTA - A Case Study for Central Africa," show that liberalizing tariffs within the African continent would lead to overall increases in trade among member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States across all products, except for extraction products, which decrease. ■