“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest free-trade area by the number of member states and the largest in population and geographic size”, stressed by Innocent Chikuni, a Customs Representative and member of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) of Zimbabwe, in his presentation for the UNCTAD E-coaching Couse of Effective Communication for NTFC members.
A recent addition to the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme portfolio dedicated to strengthening the skills of NTFC members, the Effective Communication course provides tips and advises to help participants deliver impactful speeches and presentations for their day-to-day work at the committee. The first English edition was delivered in Autumn 2022 to selected English-speaking countries participating in UNCTAD’s project “Accelerate Trade Facilitation”, financed by the United Kingdom. Participants of the course are required to submit a video presentation on a topic related to trade facilitation. And for Innocent, there is no better choice than the topic of AfcFTA and its impact on African trade.
Challenges such as bureaucratic delays, red tapes, inefficient processing and procedures, corruption and lack of coordination and infrastructure at crossing points could significantly increase the cost of doing business in the region and inhibit intra as well as inter-African trade. With a combined value of GDP 3.4 trillion USD, Innocent believes that upon the realization of AfCFTA, many of these hurdles would be removed. For instance, Annex 3 of the agreement targets customs co-operation, mutual administrative assistance, harmonization of practices and simplification of customs procedures. Annex 4 of the agreement further regulates the guidelines on streamlining of trade facilitation processes, such as pre-arrival processing and electronic payment.
Innocent also exemplifies the enormous benefits of the agreement via statistics. Referencing UNECA and UNCTAD reports, he points out that inter-African trade is likely to increase by 21.9% through the agreement, adding a total of 85 billion USD in trade volume. Africa is expected to make phenomenal progress in trade facilitation and development through the implementation of AfCFTA.
We invite you to get a moment and listen to his insightful presentation.
Innocent Chikuni is Head of Technical Services at Customs. He has been working in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and is involved in the work of the National Trade Facilitation Committee. His work revolves around the Harmonised System (HS), Rules of Origin (RoO), Tax Expenditure Regimes, Customs Valuation, Customs Risk Management and Trade Facilitation, at Head Office.