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Share cake equally, Lungu urges economic forum

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (left) accompanied by King Mswati of Swaziland walks at the International Conference Centre during the World Economic Forum Africa in Durban,South Africa on Thursday,May 4,2017. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE ©2017

PRESIDENT Lungu says some member countries of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) like Zambia may consider a ‘Brexit’ approach if the benefits of the CFTA are not shared equally.

He, however, noted that the CFTA will make Africa an attractive investment destination and that countries should at all costs embrace the CFTA.
President Lungu has also advised African countries to be a part of the CFTA because at the moment, most of them have nothing to protect.
He said this in Durban, South Africa, yesterday during a World Economic Forum panel discussion on fast-tracking economic unification.
President Lungu said the CFTA will only succeed if African countries enhance infrastructure development and regional trade.
He also said the African Union (AU) and all economic blocs on the continent need to ensure equality so that the CFTA benefits member countries.
And Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanumgaratnam advised African leaders to be disciplined in executing their development plans.
He said it is important to take one step after another by learning and adapting for growth.
African Export and Import Bank chairman Benedick Oramah announced that the financial institution has a US$45 billion facility aimed at supporting African companies with finances.
He said the finances will be made available to companies such as Dangote Group and Export Trade Group which will in turn support small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Mr Oramah said the bank will also be launching a platform aimed at facilitating trade among SMEs on the continent using technology.
He said this should help to boost intra-Africa trade which has remained very low compared to trade with countries out of the continent.
The CFTA is an initiative by the AU to integrate all the economic blocs on the continent into an economic union similar to the European Union. – ZNBC


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