Plans to boost intra-Africa trade underway
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with support from the World Food Programme (WFP) and in collaboration with the Ghana Community Exchange convened a meeting of heads of African commodities exchanges and associated entities in Accra, Ghana, recently to establish an Association of African Commodities Exchanges under the AfCFTA umbrella.
AfCFTA will be creating a huge free trade area with 1,3 billion people to boost trade and economic growth within Africa.
By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa the objective of AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade particularly trade in value added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.
The Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) along with other 15 African commodity exchanges participated in the forum held in Ghana and subsequently joined and became pioneer members of the General Assembly of the Association of African Commodities Exchange (A-ACX). Trade ministry officials from participating countries attended the meeting.
The A-ACX seeks to establish a framework for the operationalisation of intra-continental commodities trading under the AfCFTA protocol.
To facilitate the immediate commencement of activities of A-ACX , a steering committee was formed comprising CEOs from five of the member commodity exchanges, including ZMX CEO Mr Collen Tapfumaneyi. Other members of the committee were drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
The participants at the forum included also included trade ministry officials from various African countries.
The A-ACX adopted several key next steps including the signing of a memorandum of understanding at a trade meeting in Cairo shortly to formalize the A-ACX.
The A-ACX will engage stakeholders in each country to share essential insights into the technicalities of intra continental commodity trading, settlement and logistics modalities.
In an interview Mr Tapfumaneyi said the establishment of the A-ACX marks an important step forward in promoting intra African Trade in commodities and related services.
‘’In line with the objectives of AfCFTA, the A-ACX strives to enhance intra Africa trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy, thereby fostering economic growth for the continent. We are deeply honoured to have been appointed as a committee member. We acknowledge the significance of this appointment and the potential for ZMX AND Zimbabwe at large to play a meaningful role in advancing the objectives of the A-ACX and the broader AfCFTA initiative,’’ he said.
The objectives of the initiative is to enhance food security and support sustainability and ethical practices in commodity production and trade, promoting intra African trade in commodities and related services. It also fosters collaboration , knowledge sharing , capacity building and adoption of best practices among member exchanges. This will also enhance visibility of African commodity exchanges and facilitate intra African trade.