Tanzanian Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, Ally Gugu said that his country is ready to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Guided Trade Initiative. ALSO READ: Hopes high as AfCFTA launches Guided Trade Initiative He made the remarks during a workshop on AfCFTA agreement on Trade in Goods Protocol between the East African Business Council (EABC) and with 45 businesses under the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, on February 15 in Dar es Salaam. Gugu elaborated that the Ministry has rolled out awareness campaigns for businesses interested to import intermediary inputs or exporting products to the continent through the pilot trading initiative. “The Ministry has developed the National Implementation Strategy for AfCFTA which will be validated by the private sector,” said Gugu. The initiative seeks to test the operational, institutional, legal, and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA, and to send an important positive message to the African economic operators. It involves eight African countries namely; Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Tunisia, Tanzania and Rwanda. ALSO READ: Rwanda begins trade under AfCFTA EABC Chairperson Angelina Ngalula, represented by Raphael Maganga, EABC Goodwill Ambassador, said Tanzania's exports to Africa hit $2.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 13 percent from 2020 while imports stood at $1.2 billion. “Tanzania has great potential to export rice, sacks for packing, and kraft paper packaging to the continent. In particular, Tanzania has an untapped potential of $136 million from the export of rice alone to the continent.” ALSO READ: Rwanda, Tanzania sign four bilateral agreements She added that under AfCFTA, transport services have the potential to increase by nearly 50 percent. Over 25 percent of intra-African trade gains in all services liberalized under AfCFTA will go to transport alone and nearly 40 percent of the increase in African services will be in the transport sector. ALSO READ: Rwanda courts Tanzania to join East African Single Tourist Visa On his part, Lamech Wesonga, Economic Policy Advisor on AfCFTA to the EAC urged the private sector to take a proactive role by trading under the AfCFTA. March 2018 marked a historic milestone for economic integration in Africa with intention of creating a market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP valued at $3.4 trillion. The Agreement envisages boosting intra-African trade through the gradual elimination of tariffs on over 90 African goods and the removal of non-tariff barriers and trade restrictions on goods and services, respectively. The EAC exports of goods to Africa stood at $7.9 billion composing 42 percent share of the region’s total exports of goods to the world at $18.7 billion. EAC exports to Africa include precious stones, coffee, tea, cement, animal fats, mineral oils and iron and steel. East Africa as a bloc has great potential to export vegetables, tea, rice, coffee, sugar, textile products, soap, sesame seeds, edible oils, tubers and milk to the continent.