🗒️ KEY OUTCOMES OF PRESS BRIEFING BY COMMISSIONER ALBERT MUCHANGA — Commissioner for Trade & Industry at 5th Mid Yr Coordination Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya
Report by E K Bensah Jr
In the 19-minute press briefing held during the 5th Mid-year Coordination Meeting underway in Nairobi, Albert Muchanga revealed that the AU is in the process of preparing A Readiness Assessment Towards African Customs Union.
Leaders in 2019 decided that the AU should prepare such an assessment. It is scheduled to be ready by 2024, and uses best practices of three RECs that are customs Unions; namely: SACU; EAC; ECOWAS.
While the AU has recognised 8 RECS, there are currently three RECS that are in process of finalising their FTAs. These are SADC; COMESA; ECCAS.
For the AU Freedom of Movement Protocol to enter into force, it needs fifteen ratifications. Currently, we have two signatures and just four ratifications. Both AU FMP and Single Africa Aviation Transport Mechanism (SAATM) were opened for signing in 2018.
Foundations for African Customs Union exists,.adds Commissioner Muchanga. AfCFTA may be the largest FTA in the world, but it cannot be enough as each member State has a national external tariff. “What we need”, Muchanga adds, “is a common external tariff“. In the current situation, “there will always be a danger that third parties can take advantage.” He added: “this is called trade deflection, and this would undermine the process of Industrialization.”
This will be rolled out across the Union, policy organs, and through the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Integration, which will make its way to the AU’s Assembly.
Ultimately, it would need inputs from stakeholders, including the media.