INTERVENTION BY H.E. ADAMA BARROW
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
DURING THE PLENARY DEBATE ON THE REPORT PRESENTED BY
H.E. MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NIGER & LEADER ON AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA (AfCFTA)
DURING THE 31ST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE & GOVERNMENT OF THE AU
HELD IN NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA
FROM 1ST TO 2ND JULY, 2018
My government is committed to the ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement at the earliest possible time. To this end, the appropriate administrative and legal processes have already been initiated. The process includes strategic national consultations to ensure that Gambians are fully involved in the AfCFTA implementation process.
We will be considering the draft annexes to the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the Protocol on Rules of Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes. To maintain the momentum, an institutional mechanism in the form of a Secretariat is necessary, and needs to be established at the earliest possible instance.
Working with Member States, the Commission and institutional partners, the Secretariat should ensure continuity for the AfCFTA implementation process, and this should include continued engagements even after the ongoing negotiations have concluded.
It is necessary that consensus is reached on the Exclusion and Sensitive List of Products, in conformity with our aspirations and the realities of our various commercial arrangements. In this vein, I call on the Commission and the negotiating teams to carry out a comprehensive study to strike the right balance between the various positions that have been proposed for all to be fully involved in the AfCFTA implementation process.
The timelines set for national and regional consultations, especially with the Regional Economic Communities, have to be met.
Providing timely technical support to Member States is crucial for the development of a methodology for service liberalization and the regulatory frameworks on the rules of origin.
It is also important that the various AfCFTA implementation programmes are synchronized with the budget circles of the Union to ensure that requests for funds are properly timed and given priority by the relevant policy organs.
At Kigali, we took the momentous decision to sign and launch the AfCFTA; thus, we cannot afford to miss the golden opportunity to transform our economies and address the state of under-development and poverty in Africa.
In conclusion, I wish to put on record, my commendation for the consultative process that ensued at the Heads of State and Government, Ministerial and Expert levels after our Extraordinary Summit in Kigali. I trust that all these efforts will bear fruit sooner than expected.
I thank you for your attention.