AfCFTA secretariat, TMA partner to boost trade in Africa

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and Trademark Africa (TMA), signed a partnership agreement here Friday night to facilitate the development of trading infrastructure across Africa to boost trade.

A memorandum of understanding between the two parties was signed during the ongoing Africa Prosperity Dialogue in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Wamkele Mene, secretary general of AfCFTA, said he expected the partnership to help improve the collective competitiveness of all countries under the continental free trade agreement.

“It is possible to see the ambition of TMA to support our vision of integrating the $3.4 trillion African market becoming a reality,” said Mene.

Alluding to the success stories of TMA in East Africa and the Horn of Africa region, the secretary general said the introduction of digitization and other modern trade infrastructure would reduce the time and cost of transit trade in Africa.

“We shall adopt a corridor-to-corridor approach in reforming the transit processes and improve the collective competitiveness of all the trade corridors on the continent,” he said.

The signing of the agreement coincided with the simultaneous rebranding of the company as Trademark Africa from the previous Trademark East Africa and the opening of its West African business.

“Africa is a sleeping giant due to its vast potentials that are yet to be tapped. But now, we are closer to that dream than when we started,” said Erastus Mwencha, board chairman of TMA.

He said the partnership would enable the private sector player to expand its impactful programming progressively and support the AfCFTA to unleash the immense impact of free trade in high-value products on the continent.

Mwencha, a former deputy chairman of the African Union Commission, said the company would focus on facilitating the development of digital and green trade corridors to position Africa as a partner of choice for global off-takers.

He said the company’s activities would also promote inclusive trade that drives down poverty levels and ensures that “vulnerable groups are more integrated into the trading systems.”

“Our aim remains trade facilitation just as we have done over the past 12 years in the East and Horn of Africa regions. The time is ripe to modernize the physical and virtual trading corridors. With this partnership, the sky is the limit, and the benefits are immense,” Mwencha added.

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