Prof Mkumbo: AfCFTA to increase productivity, quality of Tanzanian products

Minister for Industry and Trade, Prof Kitila Mkumbo said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will increase productivity and quality of Tanzanian products and services due to increased competition and thus lead to a decrease in commodity prices.

Tanzania is a member of the AfCFTA which has 38 members satisfied out of 55 African Union member states which commenced on May 30, 2020.

Speaking recently when attended the seventh meeting of the African Council of African Trade Ministers of the AfCFTA held in a traditional and hybrid network, Prof Mkumbo said:

“We are committed to use all trade opportunities arising from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement including the acquisition of new markets for agricultural products.”

He further said: “Access to markets will stimulate production, strengthen the value chain of agricultural products involving smallholder farmers of sunflower, cotton, cloves, spices, fruits and vegetables.”

Prof Mkumbo said it would increase employment opportunities for farmers and stakeholders involved in the value chain of agricultural products, access to a large market for goods and services with a population of approximately 1.2 billion people compared to the population of about 522 million people in East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community(SADC) countries.

Other benefits he mentioned include strengthening business partnerships while developing industries and entrepreneurs of the Small, Medium Entrepreneurs Group (MSMEs) and access to a variety of products in the country including transfers technology.

However, the ministers reviewed the progress made on various issues contained in the first phase of discussion which has not yet been finalised.

The ministers gave the experts three months to finalise the remaining areas to reach 100 per cent of work. In addition, the ministers agreed that some of the criteria for the origin of the product should reach 88.1 per cent from the current 86.03 per cent including the criteria for the origin of dairy products (cheese and curd), fruit juices and leather goods materials.

A total of 41 countries have submitted tariff offer proposals for starting a business. Among those countries, there are four Customs Union member states which are the EAC, the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).