Deputy Min. Wolo Speaks on AfCFTA Ratification Efforts

Stakeholder workshop on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area
Stakeholder workshop on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area
Photo Credit: ITSSD

WEDNESDAY: February 17, 2021: The Deputy Minister for Commerce and Trade, Republic of Liberia, Hon. George D. Wolo after a two-day stakeholder workshop had a video interview with Spotlight on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In his interview, Hon. Wolo emphasized that Liberia attaches great importance to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

 

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a legal instrument signed by the Government of Liberia pending ratification; to ensure a free trade area. According to Hon. Wolo, the stakeholder meeting is one of the criteria to implementing the AfCFTA. Hon. Wolo noted that it was on such basis that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry held a two-day sensitization workshop on the details of the AfCFTA Agreement.

 

The objective of this workshop was to bring together all line Ministries, Agencies, Commissions, Private sector and Donor community connected to commerce and trade related activities and the implementation of the details of AfCFTA road map.

 

Deputy Minister Wolo told Spotlight AfCFTA that stakeholders were cautiously excited to have a free trade area, but their concerns were based on fears of past occurrences. They also expressed fears concerning whether small and medium business entry into new territories would be accepted.

 

Hon. Wolo addressed the issue of trade in service; and He stated that trade in service has not been captured data wise. For example, the question of whether institutions that came in with consultancy services were allowed to move to other countries and whether they were captured in the data.

 

Hon. Wolo told Spotlight AfCFTA that all concerns expressed by stakeholders will be used to populate the instrument that is currently been created. From the workshop, Ministry of Commerce & Industry will provide a holistic image and inform leaders on the course of action.

 

Further in his interview, he stressed the protocol in place to implement AfCFTA to prevent local from revolting due to lack of development. In addition, Hon. Wolo stated the steps by Government of Liberia to make the AfCFTA beneficial to its citizens is, firstly, the dissemination of information as critical piece. The second is comfort level that is building from the liberalization scheme and thirdly, focus on the youthful population, since it constitutes a huge portion of overall citizenry. To increase the potential of our people, we need to ensure that our structures are strong enough to support our entrepreneurs and improve the standard of goods and services to match international standards.

 

 

Furthermore, Hon. Wolo spoke about trade facilitation processes stating that, AfCFTA is meant to lift up small countries, for which they are engaged into early preparation to give them enough time to put in place the structures needed to support AfCFTA. Next, is to put structure in place that evokes growth and continuality, whilst creating an environment to generate new ideas and other technological improvement that African can be proud of.

 

Lastly, he referenced the West Africa power poll as a development indicator that spot growth and development comparing the above to AfCFTA agreement.

 

How is Liberia rectifying the agreement? Hon. Wolo stated Liberia will make sure that they are fully represented thus its early preparation.

 

Hon. Wolo closed by reemphasized that their strategy focuses on inter-generational change which he further highlighted the preparation for younger people to get involved and to take after them in moving the continent forward.

 

The leaders in Liberia have set the stage for technicians and policy makers to seize the moment and make sure all that is require is best sorted to give Liberia a better position in world activity.