UK dangles £35 million for AfCFTA trade policy
Malawi and its peers could get closer to enhancing trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) following a £35 million (about $46 million) package from the United Kingdom (UK).
The money will be used for providing trade facilitation and trade policy support to the AfCFTA secretariat and member states through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and other regional partners.
A press statement issued by the UK Embassy in Malawi says the UK believes that the AfCFTA has potential to boost economies in Africa by driving industrialisation, generating jobs and delivering prosperity across the continent, hence the support.
UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the UK, as an independent free trading nation, strongly supports the AfCFTA.
“We are keen to see continued momentum on outstanding negotiations and on practical implementation of the agreement on the ground.
“This new aid programme shows that trade is a force for good and will lead to increased trade, investment and prosperity for both Africa and the UK,” Trevelyan said.
Secretary General of the AfCFTA secretariat Wamkele Mene said the funds will help usher the block and the UK into a partnership for strengthening cooperation related to customs and trade facilitation and trade policy across the African continent.
“In the last five years or so, we have seen the re-engineering of our Regional Economic Communities, to take into consideration the aspirations that are embedded in the AfCFTA instruments. We have also witnessed, during this period, the enthusiasm and the energy of our private sector to rise to the occasion and begin to exploit what is provided for in the agreement,” Mene said.
In an interview Thursday, Ministry of Trade and Industry spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said Malawi was looking forward to benefitting from the programme.
He said the country already enjoys strong partnership with the UK and TMEA in implementing several trade and investment facilitation programmes.
“This new support facility will be building on existing work on corridor connectivity and trade facilitation enhancement that we are jointly implementing in order to boost Malawi’s trade potential.
“We have lined up a number of interventions from our National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy that would help us harness the AfCFTA opportunities including building the capacity of our producers and exporters and profiling Malawi’s strategic export commodities and markets,” Msokera said