An International Trade Law expert, Maame Awinador Kanyirige has stated that the appointment of an African as the President of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will not have any impact on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
She stated that AfCFTA is confined in the laws of the WTO and having an African as the boss will not change the tariffs and trade laws for the subscribed countries under it.
“Having an African as the Director-General of the WTO won’t necessarily have an impact on the African Continental Free Trade Area. Countries that are party to the WTO have subscribed to the WTO law which is the general agreement on tariffs and trade. And article 24 of that law covers free trade and regional agreements. So the AfCFTA has been designed in such a way that it is in accordance with the WTO law. So the entire AfCFTA agreement is restricted within the laws of the WTO. So, an African being at the top doesn’t necessarily affect the AfCFTA.” She said.
In an interview with the Business and Financial Times monitored by GhanaWeb, MsKanyirige explained that African leaders must focus on putting in place measures to enhance the AfCFTA and make it visible to draw the attention of the new president to set up policies that will settle trade dispute against at the WTO.
“Her policies can only enforce existing laws. The best it can do for the AfCFTA is that it can facilitate global trade. AfCFTA is to help intra-African trade so that we can develop or enhance our ability to perform on the global stage. The Director-General has said one of her main objectives is to push for fairness, so we need to empower ourselves so that fairness will work. Trade agreements areas are only effective based on the number of cases that come up. So the more problems that are fixed, the more the agreement becomes better. African countries and other third world countries have complained of unfair trade,” she stated.
She further stated that “I think Africans must ensure that the AfCFTA works and doesn’t just become like the WTO. If we make the AfCFTA work by putting up the necessary institutions, then, it will rather make her work easier to push for a policy if we strengthen ourselves through intra-Africa trade.”