Botswana: The Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Mmusi Kgafela, participated at the 11th Meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Council of Ministers of Trade on the 11th – 12th February 2023 in Gaborone, Botswana.
The Meeting was preceded by the 14th Meeting of the Committee of Senior Trade Officials held from the 6th – the 9th of February 2023.
The 11th Meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers was convened to consider Regulations on Special Economic Arrangements/Zones, outstanding Rules of Origin in the Automotive Sector and Textiles and Apparel; and receive Reports from the Committees on Digital Trade and Women and Youth in Trade.
The Ministers adopted the Ministerial Regulations on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which will enable goods produced from Special Economic Zones to enjoy concessional terms of trade as provided for in the AfCFTA. Botswana will thus be able to attract investors in her SEZs with the full knowledge that goods produced under our SEZs will enjoy all trade preferences presented by the AfCFTA Agreement.
The Ministers also launched the AfCFTA Automotive Strategy as a living document of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Strategy provides for equitable participation of all State Parties in the automotive industry value chain once the AfCFTA is fully implemented. This represents a significant gain for Botswana as the Strategy will support the country’s endeavour for meaningful participation in the continental automotive industry and related value- chains.
Council directed the AfCFTA Secretariat to convene dedicated Sessions of Senior Trade Officials in March and April 2023 with a view to concluding the negotiations on Rules of Origin for Textiles and Apparel by June 2023.
The Council of Ministers took note of the finalisation of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Tariff Offer/Elimination of duties to the AfCFTA. The offer is now aligned to the AfCFTA Tariff Negotiations Modalities, having achieved liberalisation for 90% of the SACU tariff book. This will allow Botswana and other SACU Member States (eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa) to trade under preferential market access in the AfCFTA once all SACU Members have deposited their instruments of ratification. This is a positive development as the Private Sector will fully benefit from the Agreement and have access to the larger African market of approximately 1.3 billion people.