• EABC-GIZ AfCFTA Capacity Building Workshops Kicks Off in Zanzibar

Wednesday, 19th June 2024, Zanzibar: Officiating the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) capacity-building workshop for private sector, Hon. Omar Said Shaaban, Minister for Trade and Industrial Development Zanzibar, commended the East African Business Council (EABC) and Zanzibar Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), and  GIZ – Support to East African Integration for organizing the workshop in Zanzibar at the right time, as Tanzania is chairing the AfCFTA Council of Ministers, set to take place this week in Zanzibar.

Hon. Shaaban, lauded H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania for her role as the Champion of the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade. He said Zanzibar is ready to host the AfCFTA Women Conference, facilitating B2B networking among African women in business to foster the growth of intra-African trade.

The Minister emphasized the government’s commitment to negotiating and opening market opportunities for the people of Zanzibar and creating a conducive environment for businesses by entering into the AfCFTA Agreement. He encouraged local businesses to explore new markets across the African continent via the AfCFTA and compete with African counterparts. This calls for improved innovation, quality, productive capacity, and capacity building for businesses.

He stated that the Dunga Industrial Park will boost Zanzibar exports. He also noted that Zanzibar, as the spice island with a rich blue economy, has a comparative and competitive advantage to be the leading horticulture export hub in the AfCFTA.

Mr. Ali Amour, EABC Board Member, stated that the AfCFTA Agreement, signed on 21st March 2018, aims to create a single market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of USD 3.4 trillion.

Highlighting the opportunities for Zanzibar, Mr. Amour mentioned the potential for diversification of exports and the growth in the horticulture sector and blue economy (fisheries, aquaculture, and seaweed).

He said the capacity-building workshop will empower the Zanzibar private sector on the AfCFTA Agreement, especially the Trade in Goods Protocol and its annexes.

In his remarks, Mr. Hamad Hamad, Executive Director of the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, stated that Zanzibar should continue to position itself in light of the EAC and AfCFTA market opportunities. He urged youth, women entrepreneurs, and MSMEs to look beyond the Zanzibar market through the AfCFTA.

On his part, Mr. Lamech Wesonga, Economic Policy Advisor on AfCFTA EAC-GIZ, urged youth and women entrepreneurs to commence trading under AfCFTA as H.E. President Samia is the Champion of the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade.

He reiterated GIZ’s commitment to partner with governments and the private sector to unlock opportunities in the 1.3 billion AfCFTA market.

Mr. Adrian Njau, EABC Trade and Policy Advisor, stated that gradually eliminating tariffs on over 90% of African goods and removing non-tariff barriers opens export and import opportunities for Zanzibar businesses.

Tanzania’s exports to Africa increased by 5.15%, rising from USD 2.51 billion in 2021 to USD 2.64 billion in 2022, according to the International Trade Centre. Meanwhile, imports grew from USD 1.25 billion in 2021 to USD 1.6 billion in 2022. Tanzania’s top exports to Africa in 2022  included precious stones, cereals, earths and stone earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement, mineral oils, fertilisers, beverages spirt and vinegar, iron and steel, textiles, paper and paperboard, soap, organic surface-active agents, ceramic products, glassware, essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, coffee, tea, spices, oil seeds, Wood and articles of wood, Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof and Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers.

Mr. Njau, appreciated EAC-GIZ for partnering with EABC in carrying out capacity-building workshops across EAC Partner States to improve the export capacity of the EAC bloc.

The workshop convened 50 businesses in Zanzibar, who learned about the AfCFTA Trade in Goods Protocol and its annexes (especially Rules of Origin, Tariff Concessions, and Non-Tariff Barriers) and their implications for businesses in the EAC bloc.

The AfCFTA Agreement is a clear testimony that African states are committed to increasing trade and investment among themselves. The signing of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 21 March 2018 marked a historic milestone for economic integration in Africa, with the intention of creating a market of 1.3 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at USD 3.4 trillion. The Agreement envisages boosting intra-African trade through the gradual elimination of tariffs on over 90% of African goods and the removal of non-tariff barriers and trade restrictions on goods and services, respectively.

The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Adrian Njau, EABC Trade and Policy Advisor.

Published On: June 25th, 2024 / Categories: Highlights, News /