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South Africa launches first shipment and preferential trading under AfCFTA

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South Africa Launches First Shipment and Preferential Trading under AFCFTA

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to officiate the launch of South Africa’s inaugural shipment and preferential trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

The ceremony will unfold at the Port of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, coinciding with the 13th AfCFTA Council of Ministers held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from January 30 to 31, 2024.

South Africa stands out as the first among the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries to tangibly realize the AfCFTA Agreement. This pioneering move underscores the country’s commitment to advancing regional and continental economic integration.

The 37th African Union Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for its annual convention in February 2024, will assess the progress in implementing the AfCFTA.

The success of this continental trade agreement is anticipated to yield diverse benefits, including export diversification, enhanced productive capacity, accelerated economic growth, increased investments, augmented employment opportunities, higher incomes, and, crucially, broader economic inclusion both within South Africa and across the continent.

It opens up new avenues for South African exporters to access key markets in Africa, paving the way for economic growth.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be accompanied by key figures such as Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, and AfCFTA Secretary General Wamkele Mene.

The distinguished gathering, including the AfCFTA Council of Ministers, will witness the maiden shipment of Proudly South Africa products destined for the continent.

Details of the launch ceremony are as follows:

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– *Date:* Wednesday, January 31, 2024
– *Time:* 09:00 (Media to arrive at 07:30)
– *Venue:* Port of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province

This event marks a pivotal moment in South Africa’s economic trajectory, signifying a proactive step towards fostering intra-African trade and collaboration under the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. It is a high ambition trade agreement, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas.


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