GABORONE, June 26 — Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Saturday urged African countries’ parliaments to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is domesticated for it to be effective.
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 SADC Summit on Sept. 8, 1997, is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Members of Parliament from SADC member state national parliaments, representing over 3,500 parliamentarians in the SADC region.
“AfCFTA cannot be effective without domestication at the national level,” noted Masisi before noting 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 Jan. 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 gross domestic product (GDP) of over 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars.
It offers a golden opportunity with the potential to open new horizons for regional economic cooperation in Africa, said 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.