Government, through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, said the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) will kick off in January, following the increased stability in the market.
The AfCFTA agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification.
Zimbabwe recently signed AfCTA, which became effective mid-2019, but had requested for a 15-year waiver to allow the country to industrialise and be able to fully participate under the terms of the agreement.
This was after experts strongly argued the economy was too fragile to implement the trade deal immediately as it was still reeling under Western sanctions and recovering from decades of mismanagement.
Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), 6th Annual Retailers and Wholesalers Awards, Vice President Kembo Mohadi said the developmental programs by the Second Republic has improved capacity utilisation of industry and market stability.
“My government reassures you of its commitment to industrialisation, import-substitution, and export strategy. It is also important that we continue to grow by taking up investment opportunities that lie in the retail sector,” he said.
In-line with the AfCTA, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr. Sekai Nzenza said the government has introduced the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and the key in that under industry and commerce is that the Ministry will focus on import substitution which means there will be an increase in local production.
“In January the AfCTA kicks off so we are not only going to be producing locally, we will be producing locally for exports,” she said.
The AfCTA is expected to create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a Gross Domestic Product of $2.5 trillion.
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