The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a window of opportunity for Burundi

This Thursday, October 20, 2022, the Centre for Development and Enterprises (CDE Grands Lacs) organized an information workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its contribution to the Burundian people. The workshop, facilitated by Dr. Salomon Nsabimana, macroeconomist and expert in strategic planning, took place in the dynamics of economic / commercial integration of Burundi. Aimable Manirakiza, Executive Director of CDE Great Lakes, explained the history and objective of the FTAA :

“The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018, and its objective is to make Africa’s integration a reality by serving as an engine for economic growth, industrialization and sustainable development in Africa in line with the 2030 Agenda adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 for “The Africa We Want” which is expected to be the largest common market in the world in terms of membership since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).”

At the national level, the overall objective of the CDE is to popularize on a large scale the FTAA Agreement and its implications for Burundi in order to enlighten policy makers and public opinion on the economic miracles in the creation of employment and economic opportunities for the Burundian people. 

From this overall objective, the Director of the think tank deduced 5 specific objectives namely:

1) To situate the FTAA in the dynamics of economic/trade integration of Burundi 

2) To inform policy makers and public opinion of the content of the FTAA agreement and its implications for the people of Burundi

3) To popularize the opportunities and challenges for Burundi of the implementation of the FTAA agreement

4) Collect suggestions for reform in the implementation of the FTAA in Burundi. 

From these objectives, we expect to have the following outcomes:

1) The FTAA is situated in the dynamics of Burundi’s economic/trade integration 

2) Policy makers and public opinion are informed about the content of the FTAA agreement 

3) The opportunities and threats for Burundi of the implementation of the FTAA agreement are popularized 

4) Reform proposals for the implementation of the FTAA agreement in Burundi are collected. 

Dr. Salomon NSABIMANA, after discussing the main thrusts of the FTAA and the challenges related to its implementation in Burundi, concluded that the FTAA represents a window of opportunity for African countries to promote intra-African trade, diversify and structurally transform the continent’s economy, and pursue important human rights and poverty reduction objectives. 

For Burundi, the macroeconomist said the country’s FTAA implementation strategy is in place to promote Burundi’s trade with its African partners and focuses on three key points : 

 -An effective institutional mechanism to capitalize on intra-African trade, 

-Diversification of supply and export markets (goods and services) 

-The promotion of the participation of women and youth in intra-African trade. 

Burundi being a net importer of goods and services, it is necessary to face the risks and take advantage of the opportunities of the FTAA, warned Dr. Salomon.

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