Ensuring Peace, Stability Critical to Realize Economic Integration of Africa, Say AU Officials

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Addis Ababa June 27/2019 Ensuring peace and stability is critical to realize trade and investment agreements and the eventual economic integration of Africa, according to officials in the continental organization.

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Horn of Africa, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga said at a panel discussion today about AfCFTA Regional Trade Forum-Horn of Africa that there must be search for diplomacy of peace to realize the integration of the Horn region and Africa.

According to him, Africa is really at crossroads today. No country on the continent, regardless of its size, could cope with the challenges of the 21st century — migration and climate change, among others.

So a search in diplomacy of peace is critical. He recommend that “member states and our leaders come with dialogue at the center, because we are actually in a process of negotiating our social contracts which is not yet done.”

Onanga-Anyanga further elaborated that “ all partners such as IGAD, EU and others need to resume their ongoing support for realizing peace and stability in the region in particular and in the continent in general.”

ECA Executive Secretary, Vera  Songwe said on her part climate change, peace and security are holding back Africa. “ We believe that trade and integration will be one of the solutions to bring us hope, particularly in the sub-region.”

Taking the huge market which AfCFTA will bring into the continent is an opportunity not only to Africa but also to the whole world with 1.2 billion people in the continent,Songwe pointed out.

She noted that the AfCFTA will cover at least 1.2 billion people and over 3 trillion USD in GDP once all the 55 countries have joined.

In addition to creating a massive market, the continental free trade area will also eliminate 90 percent of tariffs, which proponents say will encourage FDI by creating and easing entry into a large and single market for goods and services.