After stalling and assessing since last year, the Ministry of Trade, has confirmed that Malawi said will deposit its ratification instruments for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a pact aimed at increasing trade among African countries.
Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, outlined that the approval of the AfCFTA after consultations with private sector and the instruments will be submitted to the African Union (AU), within a month from now. “After proof reading the agreement, it will be deposited to the AU, but approval protocols are done. We should deposit the instruments within a space of one month,” Gwengwe said.
During the Peter Mutharika administration, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Spokesperson, Mayeso Msokera, said that Malawi was still weighing the pros and cons of ratifying the agreement. “The private sector needs to be oriented on the pros and cons. So, we have lined up sensitization workshops for stakeholders together with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on 17th September to make them understand more. From there, we hope the private sector would have understood and let us proceed to ratify the agreement,” he said.
On the other hand, amidst some skepticism towards the AfCFTA), the United Nations Commission for Africa (Uneca) has backed the AfCFT, calling it an initiative that offers a unique opportunity for the private sector to benefit immensely in terms of new markets, access to raw materials, technology and increasing economies of scale.