ADDIS ABABA (AA) – African trade ministers gathered in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday to discuss trade issues that are crucial for the continent’s socio-economic development.
“The major challenge confronting trade ministers will be to ensure that our continent is well integrated into the global trading system,” Fatima Haram Acyl, the African Union’s trade and industry commissioner, said at the meeting.
“Africa has the lowest level of intra-regional trade, which currently stands at about 10 to 12 percent,” she said.
Acyl said meeting participants had a responsibility with regard to accelerating Africa’s market integration, including the launch of negotiations for a proposed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in 2015.
“It is almost three years since the heads of state and government adopted the CFTA. The time for rhetoric should now be over and that of concrete action should begin in earnest,” Acyl said.
Implementation of a “Boosting Intra-African Trade Action Plan” also figures high on the meeting’s agenda.
“It’s in this regard that we continue to work on the operationalization of the action plan at the national, regional and continental levels,” said Acyl.
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