Several Members of Parliament have welcomed the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA), pledging to fast-track the ratification process once the Government tables it in Parliament.
The Continental Free Trade Area Agreement was signed in Kigali on Wednesday by 44 African countries at the 10th Extraordinary African Union Summit.
According to Senator Jacqueline Muhongayire, the chairperson of the senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance, African leaders signing the trade deal is a great decision towards putting Africans’ talk of unity into action.
“It’s a great as being together in the same African market is in line with having a united Africa. Being one Africa shouldn’t be only about speeches, but rather actions that improve the lives of Africans,” she said.
Muhongayire is a member of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), where she is the deputy chairperson of the House’s Committee on Transport, Industry, and energy.
She told The New Times that the trade deal will increase opportunities for Rwandans and other Africans because it will open borders.
“The agreement is a big opportunity for Rwanda, and as parliamentarians we are ready to ratify it once it reaches the House,” she said.
MP Marie Josée Kankera, a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the Lower House, commended the CFTA as “a deal that will finally bring African countries together so they can trade with each other, give women cross-border traders more opportunities, create more jobs for young people, and give Africa a greater voice in world affairs”.
“We have waited for this for many years,” she said.
MP Theobald Mporanyi, a member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, also welcomed the trade deal, saying it will boost trade in Africa and help the continent become self-reliant.
“Africa is a market for the rest of the world and it’s time for the continent to be its own market. The trade deal is about developing Africa because it will improve business opportunities among Africans,” he said.
Mporanyi expects prices of goods to reduce once the intrument is implemented, adding that African countries should move fast to ratify the agreement.
“All African countries should ratify this agreement because it brings many advantages. I think it will also foster brotherhood in Africa because Africans will think about doing business with each other before anything else,” he said.
Following the signing of the CFTA, African states will have to ratify it through their respective parliaments before it can come into force.