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Africa Union Journal : Wamkele Mene, emblematic figure of the AfCFTA

The South African, Wamkele Mene is the first Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a trade initiative operational since January 1, 2021. His role is to help the 55 member states of the AfCFTA, to enhance local production and regional trade, in order to significantly reduce external dependence.

The South African, Wamkele Mene is the first Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a trade initiative operational since January 1, 2021. His role is to help the 55 member states of the AfCFTA, to enhance local production and regional trade, in order to significantly reduce external dependence.

The AfCFTA seeks to address this particular challenge and position our continent for higher levels of industrialization. By developing regional value chains, whether in the automotive sector, agribusiness, or pharmaceutical industries, we will be able to take advantage of this market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP to date of about 3.4 trillion dollars.

Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary General South Africa

Between October 2020 and October 2021, African exports to world markets jumped, standing at 42%, yet intra-African trade during the same period, stood at only 20%. Also, with the establishment of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene intends to contribute to the dismantling of an outdated economic model, in order to widen the scope of trade between African countries. 

We had an opportunity and covid 19 pushed that forward, to take advantage of the AfCFTA, manufacture vaccines on the African continent, and establish a generic drug industry. If we succeed in reforming and reconfiguring our intellectual property rights regime as a continent, through the AfCFTA, we are positioning ourselves to reduce external dependence.

Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary General South Africa

With the covid 19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the African Union has understood the need for Africa to enhance local production and consumption. Strategies that contribute to the strengthening of trade by reducing customs duties by 90% over 10 years, through the AfCF

The AfCFTA will significantly boost intra-African trade. If the agreement is effectively implemented, by 2035 we will have the potential to contribute 450 billion dollars to Africa’s overall GDP. We also have the potential to boost intra-African trade by up to 80% and lift nearly 100 million Africans out of poverty.

Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary General South Africa

Over the next few years, the AfCFTA will contribute to Africa’s inclusive and economic recovery process. In this way, the African Union intends to revitalize intra-African trade and ensure that it is a drive for the continent’s economic recovery.

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