ALGIERS – Sunday, 17 December 2023 (APS) – Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, welcomed, on Saturday in Algiers, Algeria’s accession to the Guided Trade without Customs Barriers initiative, launched as part of the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, hailing Algeria’s efforts to strengthen its commercial position in the various African states.

In a speech delivered at the economic forum on the “guided trade initiative,” in the presence of Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Tayeb Zitouni, Mene welcomed Algeria’s efforts and the various initiatives launched by the government to open up to the African market and expand trade on the continent, recalling the opening of new air and sea routes between Algeria and African countries and the opening of Algerian banking subsidiaries in these countries, which reflects”the presence of Algerian banking sector in African countries.”

He also praised the great progress made by Algeria in terms of industry, which is likely to bring “added value to the country and double inter-African trade,” praising, at the same time, “the optimal exploitation by African States of available resources to achieve true economic integration.”

For his part, the Minister of Trade and Export Promotion said that Algeria’s membership would enable economic operators to do business with their counterparts in the initiative’s partner countries, without customs barriers, in accordance with the AfCFTA agreement.

In addition to promoting Algerian non-hydrocarbon exports, Zitouni called on Algerian economic operators to take advantage of the benefits of trade with countries that have joined the initiative, in order to achieve the objectives of the AfCFTA agreement, which aims to significantly increase the volume of trade between African countries.

It is worth noting that the guided trade initiative was launched at the 10th meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers, held on 7 October 2022 in Accra (Ghana).

The countries that have joined the initiative to date are Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Rwanda, Mauritius and Tanzania, pending other countries.

This initiative aims to test the operational, institutional and legal environment for the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, through the effective launch of trade in accordance with the advantages provided for in the agreement setting up the zone, between the States parties that have met the minimum conditions for initiating such trade.

“Algeria’s membership will help to achieve the objectives set out by President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, to increase the volume of non-hydrocarbon exports, thus demonstrating “the Government’s major interest in achieving continental complementarity, which is one of Algeria’s top priorities,” he added.

Algeria has joined the initiative thanks to its capacities and assets, in particular following the opening of subsidiaries of several of its banks in African countries, which are due to be expanded in the future, in addition to the new airlines opened and the fairs inaugurated to exhibit Algerian products, the minister said.

At the end of the meeting, the Secretary General of the ZLECAf and his accompanying delegation visited the Algerian Production Fair, accompanied by Minister of Trade and Export Promotion.