Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Victor Siatembo, a cross-border trader at his shop at COMESA market in Zambia's capital Lusaka, said AfCFTA will boost local economies in Africa on Dec. 23, 2020 (Xinhua/Lillian Banda)

As trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement starts, cross-border traders are optimistic that the agreement will serve to propel their businesses forward and help grow local economies across the continent.

LUSAKA, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- As trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement starts on Friday, cross-border traders based in Lusaka, Zambian capital, are optimistic that the agreement will serve to propel their businesses forward and help grow local economies across the continent.

Victor Siatembo, a cross-border trader running a shop at the famous COMESA market said he is hopeful that with the AfCFTA in place his business will grow exponentially.

"I think the removal of international trade barriers and harmonization of trade laws will help individuals like me that depend on cross-border trade for survival to thrive," said Siatembo, who trades in custom-made clothing.

He further added that the implementation of the AfCFTA will also help boost local economies as it will make it easier for goods produced in one space to have a big market.

"There is now a huge market out there. Businesses just need to ensure that they produce things that are of value and are in demand," he explained.

Mubanga Mwenya, another cross-border trader specializing in the sale of motor vehicle spare parts and vehicle accessories at Lusaka Town Centre Market said the AfCFTA will help bring improvements in the quality of goods and services produced on the continent.

According to Mwenya who gets much of his merchandise outside Zambia, many businesses in Africa will be compelled to invest in quality and affordable products so as to have a larger share of the big market.

Data from the World Bank shows that the AfCFTA, which has so far garnered 54 signatories, covers a total population of over 1.2 billion with a collective gross domestic product of 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars. ■

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