Private sector players in Rwanda and Zimbabwe have been urged to take advantage of the available tools for development and sustainable growth in Africa such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. The call was made by Foreign Minister Dr Vincent Biruta during the ongoing trade and investment summit where Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement was part of 5 pacts signed in the same meeting, as the two countries seek to enhance trade ties. “As you know, Africa officially commenced trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement on 1st January 2021. I would further like to take this opportunity to encourage all actors, especially from the private sectors in both of our two countries to leverage this development.” Minister Biruta said that Rwanda and Zimbabwe enjoy excellent relations which he said is reflected by a physical presence of Embassies in respective countries. The two countries, he said, cooperate in strategic areas including energy, mineral resources, air service, diplomatic consultation, media, prison and correctional services, as well as Mutual Legal Assistance on criminal matters. “As international trade contributes to having a sustainable revenue for our economies, such conferences are critical to ensuring business continuity that will facilitate the recovery of our economies after experiencing an unprecedented economic shock due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he asserted. These kind of conferences are also a new approach to build market linkages such as the harnessing of online promotion and networking, Biruta added. Recognizing the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic, and the need for immediate action, Biruta reaffirmed Rwanda’s commitment to the smooth implementation of the agreements signed, describing it as “The mutual socio-economic benefit of our peoples and the broader regions.” Sector players speak out Shedding more light on the agreement signed, Robert Bafakulera, Chairman of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation said that under the new deal, the two institutions shall endeavor to mutually assist and contribute towards the inducement and expansion of commercial and trade ties between entrepreneurs. Primarily, he said, the new agreement paves way for sharing expertise especially in the field of ICT and Agriculture. “Inter-African Trade is still at a low-rate and we need cooperation of different private sectors to reverse this trend,” Bafakulera reasoned.