Malawi stands to lose some revenue through the phasing out of some import tariffs once the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is rolled out, officials from the Ministry of Trade said yesterday.
The observation was made in Lilongwe during an AfCFTA sensitisation meeting jointly organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC).
Briefing reporters on the sidelines of the workshop, Malawi’s Chief Negotiator, Christina Chatima, said an early assessment by her Ministry and the Treasury revealed that government would lose some revenue in the process.
Malawi has is among the countries that signed but is yet to ratify the AfCFTA. Currently about 27 out of 55 countries on the continent.
Director of Administration in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Joseph Mkandawire, said the AfCFTA is the creation of a pan-African Market that would increase intra-African trade resulting in an increase of African manufacturing exports within Africa and beyond.
Mkandawire said the growth of the manufacturing sector would lead to job creation especially for the youth which would contribute to poverty reduction since 70 percent of the population in sub- Saharan Africa is below 30 years.
“The AfCTA is expected to bring together 55 African countries with a combined population of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion,” he said.
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) Director, Said Adejumobi, said the AfCFTA is set to create the biggest free trade area in the world with a market of more than 1.29 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $2.5 trillion.
“However, the AfCFTA has to be backed up by increased productive capacity, enhanced regional value chains, and removing internal obstacles to the growth of SMEs so that African countries can compete well in the liberalized regional market,” he said.