This article was first published on Africanews on 12 July 2021.
Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) finally kicked off on January 1, 2021, to a lot of excitement, after being delayed for six months due to the pandemic.
The AfCFTA unites an estimated $3 trillion market and could help to realize more than $84 billion in untapped intra-African exports, according to a report by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Countries now have to harmonize customs and tariff regimes.
But Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA secretariat admits that restrictions prompted by Covid-19 have slowed down progress.
Africanews journalist Neusa e Silva interviewed Wamkele during his trip to Angola recently.
"We are in conversations now with African banks about trade facilitation, trade finance rather, trade finance facility to support the implementation of the AfCFTA, I mentioned also the work we are doing with our strategic partner, Afreximbank, to make sure that there is the finance component that supports the implementation of the AfCFTA..."