Feb. 16, 2023


3 min read

Free trade area tops agenda at AU Summit

Free trade area tops agenda at AU Summit

Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane

Story highlights

    Matekane and Ramaphosa have agreed to ensure the AfCFTA is implemented for the benefit of their two countries
    Assembly to among others consider institutional reforms of the AU, state of peace and security in Africa

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THE African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) shall be at the top of the agenda at the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit, which started on Thursday.

Last week, Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane also held a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss among others, issues of free trade area.

Matekane is participating in the summit that ends on Saturday.

Lesotho is one of several African countries that have ratified the AfCFTA agreement, which among other things, shall open markets in critical sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and other business services.

The trade agreement is a major opportunity to enhance competitiveness within the continent and in the global market, stimulate growth and structural transformation, and achieve sustainable as well as inclusive socioeconomic development.

According to the World Bank, the AfCFTA, which connects 1.3 billion Africans, is expected to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, to boost the incomes of nearly 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 a day and spur large wage gains for women (10.5 percent) than for men (9.9 percent).

During last week's meeting, Matekane and Ramaphosa agreed to work together in ensuring that the AfCFTA is implemented for the benefit of the people of both countries.

In this connection, they mandated the relevant ministries and officials of both countries to meet on Tuesday last week to look into how best their countries could push this agenda forward.   
On Thursday, the Office of the Prime Minister announced Matekane’s participation in the AU Summit. m 16th to 19th February 2023. The Summit will be held at the Africa Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the government said.

“The Right Honorable Prime Minister Sam Matekane will participate at the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit from 16th to 19th February 2023. The Summit will be held at the Africa Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the government said in a statement.

The PM’s delegation includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Minister of Health, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Business Development, and Tourism.

Under the theme, “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation,” the summit shall consider and make far-reaching decisions on various political and socio-economic areas to promote and advance the welfare and quality of life for African citizens.

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“The assembly will consider various reports, including, Institutional reforms of the Africa Union, State of peace and security in Africa, activities of the Peace and Security Council, and the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa as well as Global political, financial and energy policy governance and the food crisis,” the government further showed.

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and the evaluation report of the First-Ten Year implementation plan and the development of the Agenda 2063 Implementation Plan shall also be discussed, along with climate change.

The African Union (AU) was officially launched in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, following a decision in September 1999 by its predecessor, the OAU to create a new continental organisation to build on its work. The decision to re-launch Africa’s pan-African organisation was the outcome of a consensus by African leaders that in order to realise Africa’s potential, there was a need to refocus attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid, which had been the focus of the OAU, towards increased cooperation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development.

The AU is guided by its vision of “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global.


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