Ruto Urges Swift Implementation of AfCFTA for Economic Growth
President William Ruto has stressed the need for the rapid execution of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, highlighting its potential to drive economic prosperity across the continent.
The Kenyan Head of State pointed out that the AfCFTA, once fully realised, has the capacity to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, leading to the creation of jobs and increased wealth for the continent.
He underlined that visa restrictions between African nations and trade tariffs act as unwarranted roadblocks to the continent’s economic development.
“It is imperative that we recognise the importance of fostering trade among ourselves, permitting the unrestricted flow of goods, services, people, and ideas across our vast continent,” President Ruto said.
Dr Ruto made the remarks at the Summit of the Three Basins on Biodiversity Ecosystems and Tropical Forests held in Congo Brazzaville.
He said the positive impact of reduced barriers within the East African Community (EAC), where the elimination of visa requirements and trade tariffs has notably driven trade growth among its member states.
President Ruto’s advocacy extended beyond trade, as he urged reforms in the international financial system, which he described as unjust to African nations. He stressed the importance of establishing a fair financial architecture that treats Africa on par with other nations, emphasising that it is a reasonable expectation.
As the chair of the Committee of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, President Ruto called for an equitable allocation of climate action financing.
He noted the irony of Africa, possessing 40 percent of the world’s renewable energy resources, receiving a meager two percent of the $3 trillion invested in renewable energy globally over the past decade.
In a strategic move towards climate action, President Ruto stressed the importance of recognising and incentivising countries in tropical forest basins for their forest preservation efforts.
The President also issued a stern warning against the export of raw minerals from the continent, underscoring that such practices ultimately equate to exporting job opportunities meant for the African workforce.
He encouraged African nations to embrace value addition and processing of their mineral resources to create more sustainable economic opportunities.