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The Zambian government said on Thursday that it will not rush into ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement until it concludes consultations with all stakeholders.
The AfCFTA will be launched on July 7, 2019 in Niamey, Niger, by the Heads of State and Government at an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU). The agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019.
This follows its ratification by 24 of the 52 signatory countries.
Christopher Yaluma, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, said Zambia will not rush to ratify the agreement before the forthcoming AU Heads of States Summit next month.
The wide consultation was meant to ensure that the country instituted mechanisms to ensure that Zambia does not become a dumping site for substandard products.
The Zambian minister, who is in Ethiopia to attend a consultative meeting on the AfCFTA , said the consultative process with relevant stakeholders was still on-going and had not been exhausted to warrant ratification during the operationalization of the agreement at next month’s summit, according to a release.
The Zambian minister, however, said the signing of the AfCFTA framework by President Edgar Lungu in March this year was testimony that the country was committed to being part of the single largest market in Africa.
The government, he said, wanted to obtain full endorsement from the private sector as they will be the major drivers of the program.
He said there was a possibility that the government could table the AfCFTA for ratification before parliament in August this year.Source: Xinhua
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