Gaborone – Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Saturday urged African parliaments to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is domesticated for it to be effective.
President Masisi made this call in a speech he deliberated on the occasion of the official opening of the virtual 49th Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) plenary assembly hosted by Botswana.
SADC PF, established by Summit on September 8, 1997, is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of MPs from SADC member state national parliaments, representing over 3,500 parliamentarians in the SADC region.
“AfCFTA cannot be effective without domestication at national level,” said President Masisi, who also noted that this is one area that falls within the purview of national parliaments to ensure domestication and implementation of the AfCFTA at both national and regional levels.
AfCFTA, which came into effect on January 1, 2021 and has been described by many economists as the most significant milestone in Africa’s integration agenda, covers a market of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of over US$2.5 trillion.
It offers a golden opportunity with the potential to open new horizons for regional economic cooperation in Africa, said President Masisi.
“To this end, there should be no reason why SADC and Africa, as a whole cannot be major players that partake in global GDP at par with other regions of the world. AfCFTA is one of the key drivers that can position Africa as an economic powerhouse,” he said. – Xinhua