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Private sector Ready to Trade in AfCTA


Uganda’s Private Sector has expressed readiness to engage and seize opportunities in the highly anticipated yet-to-be-implemented Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

On March 21, 2018, 27 Countries met in Rwanda and signed the AfCFTA which was later on July 7, 2019, operationalized during the 12th Extraordinary summit of the African Union in Niamey.

According to the African Union, the AfCFTA is the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, given Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion people, which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050.

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The Agreement envisages boosting intra-African trade through the gradual

elimination of tariffs on over 90 African goods and the removal of non-tariff barriers and trade restrictions on goods and services, respectively.

Simon Kaheru the Vice Chairperson of the East African Business Council (EABC) said they are ready to engage in this market whose implementation is projected to increase Intra-African trade significantly, especially in manufacturing.

He expounded that the share of intra-Africa exports to total global exports will increase in Tanzania by 28%, Uganda by 29%, Rwanda by 33%, and Kenya by 43%.

“As Ugandan private sector we are ready to trade under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative and follow our counterparts from Rwanda and Kenya who have already started trading through the agreement,” Kaheru said

This was during the Private Sector Sensitization Workshop on AfCFTA Agreement on Trade in Goods Protocolorganized by East African Business Council (EABC), Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Uganda

Manufacturers Association with support from GIZ- Support to East African Integration.

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In his speech, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa the CEao of EABC CEO said that Uganda’s exports to Africa hit $1.77billion in 2021 increasing by 26% from USD 1.4billion in 2020 while imports stood at $2.47billion in 2021”

Uganda, he said has great potential to export Coffee, Milk, and sugar, beverages, iron & steel, cooking oils, cement.

“Currently, Uganda’s exports of sugar to the continent are valued at USD 99.8 million and there is an untapped export potential of an additional $53 million of sugar exports to the continent,” he said

Kaheru on this note lauded GIZ- Support to East African Integration for partnering with EABC to improve knowledge of the private sector on the AfCFTA protocol.

On his part, Mr. Lamech Wesonga, Economic Policy Advisor on AfCFTA to the EAC urged the private sector to take a proactive role by trading under the AfCFTA.

He reiterated GIZ’s commitment to partner with EAC Governments and the private sector to unlock opportunities in the 1.3 billion AfCFTA market.

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The private sector workshop on AfCFTA convened 50 businesses in Uganda who learned about the AfCFTA Trade in Goods Protocol and its annexes (especially Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession, and Non-Tariff Barriers) and implications to businesses in the EAC bloc.

The AfCFTA Agreement is a clear testimony that the African States have committed to doing more trade and investment among themselves. The signature of the Agreement

The EAC exports of goods to Africa stood at USD 14.7 billion composing 36% share of EAC total exports of goods to the world (USD 40.3 billion). Top EAC exports to Africa included precious stones, coffee, tea, cement, animal fats, mineral oils, copper, cobalt oxides & iron, and steel. (ITC Data including DRC) East Africa as a bloc has great potential to export copper, cobalt oxides, cereals, vegetables, tea, coffee, sugar, textile products, soap, sesame seeds, edible oils, tubers, and milk to the continent.

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