The Pan-African Parliament Deputy Chairperson for the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration, Mchenry Venaani, has reiterated that African countries are lagging behind in terms of trading with each other, adamantly stating that there is a need to improve.
Venaani said this during the Pan-African Parliament workshop on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which concluded on Tuesday in Midrand South Africa. The workshop was aimed at devising strategies towards the acceleration and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade.
It is part of the Pan-African Parliament’s sixth session which commenced last week and will run through until the 2nd of June 2023, under the theme to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Venaani implored African governments to improve their infrastructure, rail networks and ports in order to enable Africa to trade with each other.
He also highlighted the need for sufficient resources and finances that would enable a flourishing trade and industry for the benefit of Africa.
“As MPs, we need to cascade to the basics, we need to ignite a debate in our own countries in terms of infrastructure development. We need to track where we are in terms of protocols that make it difficult for us to trade amongst one another and find common solutions to them. Members of Parliament must seriously track the development of legislation and protocols that impact the realization of the AfCFTA,” Venaani said.
He further made a call for Parliaments to pronounce timelines in which targets should be met so that MPs and Parliaments hold each other accountable.
He said it was time for MPs to think legislatively and for the Pan-African Parliament, as a legislative organ of the continent, to monitor those time frames.
The Deputy Chairperson of the committee stressed the need for the monitoring of trade deals, especially now with the ongoing discovery of oil on the continent.
He also highlighted that industrialization cannot be realized without agriculture and for agricultural modernization to be realized, there is a need for value chains to be strengthened across this sector.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the African Union, President Azali Assoumani advocated for a more united Africa that will prosper and develop commercially, whilst enjoying peace and stability.
“Africa has to be at the heart of economic development as we have the resources. We must produce and consume our own resources,” President Assoumani said.
The AU Chairperson further implored the acceleration of the AFCFTA, calling on challenges to be identified and addressed in order to develop a market which he says, could mitigate unemployment and terrorism on the continent.
Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament on his part called on Members to vigorously pursue opportunities that the AfCFTA offers, highlighting a number of issues of focus, such as youth unemployment, infrastructure development, peace and security on the continent as well as food security.
The Namibian Parliament is represented by five Mementos of parliament, namely Venaani, Gerhard Shiimi, Bernadus Swartbooi, Hamunyera Hambyuka and leader of the delegation, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Loide Kasingo.