Economic, Trade and Innovation Policy Adviser for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Kas) Jan Cernicky has tipped Malawi and other African countries to consult widely and not rush in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) if it is to be a success.
He said this during a journalists-exchange programme organised by the foundation.
Cernicky said that 38 countries, including Malawi, have ratified and operationalised the pact but no trading is taking place.
“If you dig deeper, the ratification does not mean so much because most countries have not yet decided on the instruments to really implement the free trade area and at the moment it is worthless and we can only hope that these processes will be carried out quickly.
“Countries need to have open discussions with all interest groups because, obviously, the AfCFTA seems to be blocked in a way and I think many things are not discussed openly,” Cernicky said.
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said rigorous and comprehensive consultations were conducted.
“And the outcome was an endorsement for Malawi to proceed with ratification of the AfCFTA,” he said.
Following the process, according to Msokera, instruments of ratification were signed and deposited with the African Union in January 2021.
Under the agreement establishing the AfCFTA, members must phase out 90 percent of tariff lines over the next five to 10 years. Another 7 percent considered sensitive will get more time, while 3 percent will be allowed to be placed on an exclusion list.