President Ramaphosa arrives in Niger to participate in the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the AU

President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, 7 July 2019, arrived in the Republic of Niger to participate in the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) on Sunday, 7 July 2019.

President Ramaphosa is expected to participate in the African Union Troika High level meeting of African Mechanism on Western Sahara; the first Mid-Year Coordination meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities and in the meeting of Heads of State and ministers of the African Union High Level Ad-hoc committee on South Sudan.

President Ramaphosa is also expected to, at the Open Session of the Extraordinary Summit, alongside President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, participate in the launch of the password controlled Tariff Concession Portal.

The portal will allow countries ready to extend tariff preferences and or give concessions to do so in a secured manner. To this end, the aforementioned products will attract minimal or no tariff thus making them more competitive.

The Summit marks an entry into force of the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and will formally launch the operational phase of the African Internal Market.

The Summit will also decide on the location and structure of the AfCFTA Secretariat.

The Extraordinary Summit is preceded by the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council on 4 and 5 July 2019 and the AfCFTA Business Forum on 6 July 2019.

Since its adoption, the AfCFTA has been signed by 52 countries, with 24 ratifications, thus ensuring its entry into force after it surpassed the threshold of 22 ratifications by AU Member States.

South Africa deposited its Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA on 10 February 2019.

Currently, South Africa's primary export destinations on the continent are mainly within the Southern African Development Community, followed by East Africa.

The AfCFTA presents South Africa with an opportunity for expansion to new markets in West and North Africa for the export of value-added goods as well as services.

The AfCFTA aims to make doing business on the continent easier and encourages African countries to trade among each other while addressing issues that stifle intra-African trade such as high transport costs, cumbersome customs, among others.

The President is supported on this working visit by Ministers Naledi Pandor of International Relations and Cooperation, Tito Mboweni of Finance and Ebrahim Patel of Trade and Industry.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

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