ECOWAS Engages West African Journalists on Continental Free Trade
Monrovia – The Economic West African States (ECOWAS) has begun an interactive dialogue with journalists from member countries aimed at equipping them with the necessary knowledge to provide quality information on key sectors.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo,
The meeting was held on the theme of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which provides an exchange on information on the “ins and outs of the agreement”.
AfCFTA was signed by 44 states and government in Kigali March 2018 that is ongoing with 18 ratifications out of 22 expected for the entry into force of the agreement.
The agreement creating AfCFTA applies to the trade in goods and services, to investment, intellectual property rights, competition policies and eventually e-commerce.
AfCFTA goes beyond the demands of a standard free-trade zone which is generating limited to lifting customs barriers and quotas on trade in goods.
Furthermore, the agreement is poised to be a leading contributory factor to economic integration in Africa.
AfCFTA is expected to catalyze Africa’s industrial transformation, while reinforcing inter-country trade as well as investment, on the other hand, and between Regional economic communities that will be in accordance with sustainable development goals (SDGs)and the African Union agenda 2063.
The West Africa network of Economics journalists is made up 30 journalists drawn from 15 ECOWAS members states.
Dosso Bakary, Economic Commission for Africa Acting Director of the office says he hopes the dialogue will allow the much better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in African trade.
He said the “dynamic partnership” with the media in the sub-region will lead to better advocacy for the ratification and implementation of the AfCFT, and to ensure better visibility and dissemination of the ECOWAS and African Development Agenda.
Tei Konzi, ECOWAS Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, added that the free trade zone is a common tool for commerce in Africa, which involves all member states to bring out the objective of the agreement.
According to him, it will ensure exportation will reduce by US$10 Million and employment will increase in member states.
He said inclusive dialogue among CSO, media, and stakeholder adding that West African countries are capable to implement the agreement.
Wilfred Bangura, Deputy Minister for Administration of the Ministry of Commerce, says it is a laudable effort of establishing the AfCFTA.
He said the agreement will boost the partnership with sub-regional media organizations for improved visibility and wider dissemination of information and issues relevant to the sub-region for economic and social development of its member states.