The government of Seychelles has set up a committee to conduct internal consultations with key stakeholders regarding the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The committee held its first meeting in Mahe with various agencies and organizations namely the Central Bank of Seychelles, department of Foreign Affairs, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the National Assembly of Seychelles and others.

The meeting, held at Liberty House, was led by the local chief negotiator on commerce, Charlie Morin, who said the committee was formed to assist the government so that Seychelles is prepared and has a national position when formal negotiations begins with the AU.

Seychelles was among the 44 out of the 55 African Union (AU) member states that signed the consolidated text of the AfCFTA agreement. To become legal, the agreement first needs to be ratified by the National Assembly of Seychelles.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.

It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation and instruments across the RECs (Regional Economic Communities) and across Africa in general.

The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

“Different ministries, organisations and the private sectors have met so they can be informed on what the agreement is doing regarding the AfCFTA. They will also lead decisions and position of the government of Seychelles, through the department of Trade, while negotiating this agreement with the AU,” said Mr Morin.

AfCFTA is the biggest Free Trade Agreement since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The agreement is set to bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later. (Source: Seychelles Nations)