The tourism, trade and investment promotion agency of Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro, on Friday welcomed the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, saying it had the potential to bring investment.
AfCFTA is the legal tool for the creation of a single market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investment across the continent and aims to provide a framework to make it easier to do business in Africa.
The various protocols that will make the first phase of the agreement operational are still being negotiated, with the first phase of the AfCFTA set for commencement in July.
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris said with proper implementation, the agreement would bring immense investment potential to Africa.
"By driving down the cost of trading across borders it can boost trade and open new markets on the continent. Wesgro looks forward to following developments to ensure that the Western Cape is ready to leverage every opportunity presented by the AfCFTA," Harris said.
"The liberalisation of services trade under the AfCFTA is especially significant, not only because it brings opportunities for Cape services exports, but also because improvements in e.g. transport, communications, and financial services further facilitate effective cross-border trade and investment."
Head of international trade and development at Wesgro Denan Kuni said the rest of Africa was a very important market for the Western Cape.
"The AfCFTA, if well implemented, brings an immense opportunity, not only for Western Cape companies to further expand their business on the continent, but also for foreign investors to set up strategic operations in the Cape with easy access to the growing African market," Kuni said.
Wesgro's trade unit provides support to Cape companies looking to export their goods to international markets or expand their businesses into the rest of Africa.