Fri, 02 Dec 2022

WINDHOEK, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has welcomed Namibia's milestone in launching its National Strategy for Implementation of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the associated Action Plan at an event held Monday in Windhoek.

With the launch, Namibia joined Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as the five trailblazing countries in the sub-region that have completed the drafting of national strategies for the AfCFTA.

The strategy will be the framework that will enable stakeholders in Namibia to internalize and maximize opportunities from the larger continental market fully, UNECA Director Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa, Eunice Kamwendo said in a statement read on her behalf.

"It is highly commendable that the strategy was formulated through widespread consultations with a broad range of public and private stakeholders and academia," she added.

According to Kamwendo, these kinds of partnerships across all stakeholder groups will anchor success in implementing the AfCFTA and thereby ensure that benefits from participation in the larger African market accrue to all.

"The UNECA recognizes that the development of national implementation strategies is critical in creating the soft infrastructure necessary for driving the AfCFTA and tracking its progress and delivering benefits to stakeholders across the continent," she added.

Meanwhile, UNECA Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Center Regional Integration and Trade Division, Melaku Desta at the event said the UNECA welcomes the speedy entry into force of the AfCFTA agreement.

"COVID-19 and all these related challenges can only test us; they cannot stop us on our integration journey," Desta said, adding that any agreement is only as good as its implementation.

The national strategy in Namibia contains seven broad policy objectives with detailed action plans, including developing and submitting tariff offers and services schedules; establishing the national implementation committee; increasing Namibia's export market; developing capacity for trade in services; attracting domestic, cross-border and foreign direct investment; revamping its industrial policy and implementing it; and focusing on women and youth, and micro, small and medium enterprises.

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