ADDIS ABABA, June 29 (Xinhua) – African experts on Saturday, experts and policy makers expressed hope that the African Continental Commerce Department (AfCFTA) agreement will promote domestic production of pharmaceutical products to end the excessive dependence of the imported medicines.
The experts and political leaders, from the Horn of Africa countries, made the statement during a two-day trade forum on the future of trade, as the free-trade pact entered into force, which was held from 28 to June 29 in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis. Ababa
"The AFCFTA offers an opportunity for economies of scale, the lack of which made it difficult for African pharmaceutical production," experts and political leaders said in a final statement that was followed by the meeting of two days
The director of Regional Integration and Trade at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Stephen Karingi, said during the meeting on Saturday that the regional trade forum, which focused exclusively on the prospects of Future of the pharmaceutical sector under the AfCFTA, urged the introduction of the national sphere. Policies that can be used to support the pharmaceutical industry, such as investment insurance, scholarships, tax incentives, and local content requirements.
"However, we should also look at the issue from a regional perspective," Karingi said, adding that "we can have a political space to promote local production, but not to the extent that it prevents the flow of commerce ".
The ECA director also stressed that the African continent has "significant experience in helping to build and grow the pharmaceutical industry of the continent."
"Traditional African medicine is an area where there is room for African innovation, but we must improve marketing. This is an area where many small and medium-sized micro-businesses operate, "Karingi said.
During the regional trade forum, experts and policy makers also emphasized that regional excellence centers could serve to overcome human capacity problems and limited resources for research, development and testing.
They also recognized the close link between peace and commerce and the need for governments to better involve the private sector if the ACFTA is to achieve its goals.
They also discussed the next steps necessary for the operation of the free trade agreement and the national implementation strategies.
They pointed out the "great potential for the continent that is the youngest in the world and that the AfCFTA expects two thousand million people in 2050".
They also stressed that "The African countries of Horn" examined "critically as the AfCFTA process through the creation of the type of export diversification needed to generate work-intensive workplaces for Young people in Africa in sectors such as manufacturing and agribusiness respond to the issue of youth unemployment in a sustainable and equitable way ".
The forum, jointly organized by ECA, the African Union (UA), the Ethiopian government and the European Union (EU), was held under the theme "Implementation of the AfCFTA: Breakout Geographical Barriers , logistics and regulators of trade and investment in the horn to promote industrialization: a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. "
According to the African Union (UA), the free trade agreement of Africa, approved by 22 countries last month, which met the threshold for it to enter into force, has laid the foundations for what may be the area of The largest free trade in the world by number of participating countries, which cover more than 1,200 million people with a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.5 trillion.
Once operated, it is expected that the African Free Trade Agreement will increase the level of intra-African trade by more than 52 percent for the year 2020, according to the TCE.