09 July 2019
President lauds launch Africa Free Trade Area Agreement
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the coming into effect of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is a milestone that fulfils a dream crafted by the founders of the Organisation of African Union (OAU) 60 years ago when they conceptualised an integrated Africa.
President Ramaphosa was speaking at the conclusion of his Working Visit to Niger where he attended the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) from 07 – 08 July 2019.
The Summit marked the entry into force of the Agreement and formally launched the operational phase of the African Internal Market.
President Ramaphosa anticipates the agreement will catapult the economies of many African countries onto a higher growth trajectory and says South Africa stands to significantly benefit from being part of the world’s largest single market encompassing 55 countries with a combined population of 1, 2 billion people and a combined GDP of USD 3, 2 trillion.
The President sees the implementation of the agreement as a platform for African countries to trade among themselves and reap the benefits of the tariff-free area.
One of the key spin-offs is expected to be greater focus and urgency for infrastructure development across the continent to support economic activities.
While at the Summit President Ramaphosa participated in the High Level Meeting of the African Union on Libya and the first Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.
The President also held a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangangwa; the Democratic Republic of Congo, His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi; the Republic of Niger, His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
During the visit the President was supported by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, and the Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel.
President Ramaphosa has returned to South Africa today on 08 July 2019 after the successful conclusion of the Summit.
Media enquiries: Khusela Diko – Spokesperson to the President – 072 854 5707
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA