President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured African countries that free trade will not marginalise local producers and that a minimum standard of origin will be set for goods to be branded as “Proudly African”.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the African Union summit in Ethiopia where he was officially announced as the new chair of the AU.
He said that the colonial era of Africa being a pit stop for assembly was over.
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area promises a market worth $3 trillion dollars for goods produced on the continent.
But some countries have raised concerns about enforcing the rules of origin.
AU chair Cyril Ramaphosa said that the free trade area would require minimum local production for goods to qualify.
“We must all ensure that the AFCTA does not become a conduit for products with minimal African value addition to enter and penetrate our local markets under the guise of continental integration.”
Ramaphosa said that the trade area must benefit the continent.
“There must be a reasonable standard set for what constitutes a product that is proudly made in Africa.”
He said that the playing field would be levelled for African businesses to operate in the large-scale market.