Quality First!

The African continent has a medley of challenges in almost all sectors of life. The creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the many initiatives to give a lasting solution to one of such challenges; that of boosting trade in Africa, within African countries and between the continent and the rest of the World. The reason behind the establishing of this structure is simple; the African continent is rich in natural and even human resources but is disappointingly poor when it comes to trade. In effect, formal trade in Africa is virtually controlled by the Western World even though informal cross border trade has been developing slowly. The interesting thing is that the in formal intra African trade is still dominated by products manufactured outside Africa. It is this dominance that is feared could negatively affect the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The situation could be further worsened if rules of origin are enforced.
Authorities of standardisation institutions in Africa, notably those of the CEMAC sub region are quite aware of the challenges ahead. Their coming together in Yaounde yesterday sert out to examine how best to harmonise standards and boost the quality of products produced in Africa in order to withstand competition from products coming in from more industrialised nations. Intra-African trade was said to account for 15 per cent of Africa's total trade in 2019; the same as for 2018. Over the last ten years trade between African natiuons has remained low. The highest was recorded in 2015 and 2016 with 19 per cent and 20 per cent of total trade respectively. The fifty-five member states of the Africa Union in order to reverse the situation have established the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services and to promote the movement of capital and natural persons. It also aims at eliminating tariffs on intra-Afric...

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