Africa no longer a 'pit stop' for multinationals
Publish date: 10 February 2020
Issue Number: 859
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his inaugural address as AU chairperson to warn that the continent will no longer serve ‘as a pit stop for goods’ not produced on its shores. In his acceptance speech at the AU heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday, Ramaphosa said the AU needed to put measures in place to ensure that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement did not result in goods from other countries passing through the continent with minimal value addition in Africa. ‘We must all ensure that the AfCFTA does not become a conduit for products with minimal African value addition to enter and penetrate our local markets under the guise of continental integration,’ he said. A TimesLIVE report notes that Ramaphosa said there should be a reasonable standard set for what constituted a product that was proudly made in Africa. ‘The era of imperialism and colonialism in which Africa is a pit stop in the global assembly line is past,’ he said, adding that the playing field for African businesses must be levelled so they can operate in a large-scale market. Legalbrief reports that the AfCFTA is due to start operating on 1 July. The agreement will create a single market of all Africa’s 55 states with a population of 1.2bn and a combined GDP of almost $3trn.