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NEWS & EVENTS

20/02/2024

Wamkele Mene re-appointed Secretary-General of AfCFTA

Wamkele Mene's tenure as the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA) has been renewed, following the endorsement by the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union. This extension prolongs Mene's leadership for an additional four years.

Born in South Africa, Wamkele Mene has steered the AfCFTA since his initial appointment as the inaugural Secretary-General in February 2020. Recognized for his esteemed academic background, Mene attained a BA in Law from Rhodes University, along with a Master's degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies. Furthermore, he acquired an LL.M in Banking Law and Financial Regulations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Preceding his involvement with the AfCFTA, Mene fulfilled the role of Head of Mission to the World Trade Organisation for South Africa. His tenure encompassed chairing the Committee on International Trade in Financial Services at the WTO and serving as the Chief Director for Africa Economic Relations, wherein he played a pivotal role as South Africa's principal negotiator in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

In his capacity as the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Mene assumes the responsibility of coordinating and facilitating the accord's implementation among African nations. He is poised to actively engage with stakeholders, advocating for the AfCFTA and conducting trade and investment promotion endeavors to bolster intra-African trade.

Established in 2018 through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the AfCFTA currently encompasses 43 parties and an additional 11 signatories, rendering it the most extensive free trade area by member state count. The overarching objectives of AfCFTA encompass elevating socioeconomic development, mitigating poverty, and enhancing Africa's competitiveness within the global economic landscape.

The foundational agreement of AfCFTA was brokered by the African Union and ratified by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018. Oversight of the negotiations and implementation is entrusted to a permanent secretariat headquartered in Accra, Ghana.

Under the agreement's purview, member states commit to phasing out tariffs on a majority of goods and services over a span of five, 10, or 13 years, contingent on the nation's developmental status or the nature of the commodities.

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19/02/2024

#AfricaClub: 30% of Africa’s sovereign reserves should be invested locally – Akufo-Addo

The #AfricaClub was officially launched on 17 February 2024 in #Ethiopia on the margins of the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Governments under the distinguished auspices of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of #Ghana, as Champion of the African Union Financial Institutions.

President Akufo-Addo called on African Heads of State and governments to consider taking a collective decision to invest up to thirty percent (30%) of their foreign sovereign reserves in African financial institutions to boost their balance sheets and their ability to support Africa’s rapid development.

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18/12/2023

Algeria joins Guided Trade Initiative to boost pan-Africa trade

Algeria's Minister of Trade and Export Promotion Tayeb Zitouni declared on Saturday his country's accession to the Guided Trade Initiative, as part of its effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The announcement was made at a forum held in Algiers that gathered influential African economic officials and experts, including AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene.

"This announcement underscores Algeria's commitment to advancing pan-African trade," Zitouni was quoted as saying by the Algeria Press Service.

He further highlighted the new membership's importance for the region, saying that it will streamline trade exchanges between Algeria's economic entities and those of other member states, boost Algeria's non-hydrocarbon exports, and support the expansion of pan-African trade volumes through the AfCFTA.

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18/12/2023

Somalia signs Treaty of Accession with EAC

The Federal Republic of Somalia inched closer to joining the seven-member East African Community with the Horn of Africa nation signing the Treaty of Accession with the bloc at State House, Entebbe, Uganda on Friday, December 15.

The Treaty of Accession was signed by Somalia’s President Sheikh Hassan Mohamud and the Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, Salva Kiir, who is also the President of South Sudan.

Kiir noted that Somalia’s entry was “a major boost” to the regional integration agenda.

He said: “Somalia is joining a regional economic bloc that has recorded major achievements in all its four pillars of integration.”

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13/12/2023

EAC and TradeMark Africa Launch EAC NTBs App to Streamline Cross-Border Trade

In a significant move for regional trade, the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat unveiled the EAC NTBs App, designed to eliminate Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) hindering cross-border business.

This mobile application, funded by the Netherlands through TradeMark Africa, integrates SMS, email, and phone reporting methods to provide a unified platform for efficient reporting, monitoring, and resolution of obstacles faced by traders.

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01/12/2023

MSCI at COP28

Delegates from nearly 200 countries, leaders of business and finance, and representatives of civil society will gather in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 for the COP28 climate conference with the aim of fast-tracking the transition to a...

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27/11/2023

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir is new EAC chair

The Republic of South Sudan has assumed the Chairmanship of the East African Community (EAC), with the country’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, becoming the bloc’s new Chairperson.

This was decided at the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State which was held on November 24, in Arusha, Tanzania, according to the EAC Secretariat.

Kiir replaces Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye as the bloc’s chair.

According to Article 12 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, the tenure of office of the Chairperson of the Summit is one year, and the office of the Chairperson shall be held in rotation among the Partner States.

The Summit is the supreme organ of the EAC in terms of decision-making. According to the Treaty, it shall meet at least once every year and may

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24/11/2023

Somalia officially admitted into EAC

Somalia has been admitted as the eighth member of the East African Community on Friday November 24, 2023, just over a year after the latest entrant, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was admitted into the bloc.

Mogadishu’s admission into the bloc was approved by the region’s leaders during the 23rd ordinary summit of the heads of state held in Arusha, Tanzania, on the same day, after successful negotiations that lasted close to a year.

The outgoing chairperson, Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye said the heads of state agreed to formally admit Somalia into the bloc, after the lengthy closed-door meeting which lasted more than

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23/11/2023

Reasons French firms want to invest in Tanzania

The appetite of French companies to invest in Tanzania is growing, with 13 operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from France making a three-day visit in search of market and business opportunities in the East African nation.

 

The France ambassador in Tanzania, Mr Nabil Hajlaoui, said on Tuesday that during the visit that started on Monday this week (November 20, 2023), the SMEs conducted personalised and business-to-business meetings with their Tanzanian counterparts in both the public and private sectors. The delegation comprised those from the construction, healthcare, aeronautics, and services sectors.

 

He said the visit illustrates that French companies have a positive perception of Tanzania and the pro-business policies of 

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11/11/2023

IATF 2023: Afreximbank earmarks $1bn to support African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme

Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced the launch of the Afreximbank African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme (AACTGS). This project is a bold step towards improving the competitiveness of cross-border trade as we announce the historic issuance of the first-ever multi-border transit bond in the Continent and the signing of other facilities that will revolutionise the transit of goods in Africa forever.

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11/11/2023

Ethiopia has submitted its initial tariff offers for trade in goods under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' weekly briefing.

The briefing notes that Ethiopia's submission to the AfCFTA Secretariat is a crucial milestone towards implementing the landmark trade deal, which aims to deepen Africa's economic integration. 

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31/10/2023

Rwanda announces visa-free travel for all Africans as continent opens up to free movement of people

Rwanda announced Thursday that it will allow Africans to travel visa-free to the country, becoming the latest nation on the continent to announce such a measure aimed at boosting free movement of people and trade to rival Europe’s Schengen zone.

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31/10/2023

US President Biden to strike Uganda, Gabon off Agoa access

US President Joe Biden signaled further trouble for Uganda, listing the East African country alongside Gabon, Niger, and the Central African Republic (CAR) as countries he intends to strike them off the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), starting with January 1, 2024.

Former US president Bill Clinton introduced the Agoa, as a special vehicle to promote the US-Africa trade on October 2, 2000, and designated many Sub–Saharan countries eligible to benefit from duty-free access to US markets for more than 1,800 products from Africa.

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30/10/2023

Cross-border trade costs ease on EAC, AfCFTA initiatives

The cost of accessing regional and continental markets for Kenyan businesses is gradually easing, findings of a survey suggest, citing falling tariffs and customs procedures.

Traders who participated in a survey conducted by top-tier lender, Stanbic Bank, said that the burden of high taxes, infrastructure challenges, political instability, and conflict when buying and selling goods with other African countries was on the decline.

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09/09/2023

G20 welcomes African Union as permanent member at Delhi summit

KEY POINTS

  • The 55-member bloc of African nations joins the European Union as only the second regional organization to become a permanent member of the G20.

  • With an embrace after the announcement, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed AU Chairperson Azali Assoumani and offered him a place at the conference table for permanent members of the G20.

  • The summit is an important one for Modi, whose government has turned the normally sedate rotating G20 presidency into a branding vehicle to burnish India's geopolitical importance ahead of national elections next year.

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08/09/2023

EAC lauds the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania for waiving visa requirements for citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The East African Community (EAC) has hailed the decision by the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania to waive the requirements of obtaining visas to their territories for the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) effective 25th August and 1st September, 2023 respectively...

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