By Inutu Mwanza in Ehiopia, Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called for ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement CFTA).
Mr Ahmed was speaking today in Ethiopia when he officially opened the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) 51st Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Zambia is being represented at the Ministers conference by Minister of National Planning Alexander Chiteme.
Mr Ahmed said Africa needs to show the world that it is united and able to trade within itself.
He said the CFTA is a sure way in which Africa can advance itself and spur the industrialization gear longed for by many countries.
And Minister of National Planning Alexander Chiteme said Zambia will only sign the agreement after consultations with all stakeholders are concluded.
He said the government wants to ensure that all its citizens are in agreement with the proposals that are in the CFTA before Zambia can append its signature.
The Minister also said Zambia does not want to be like other African states who signed and are now pulling out because of failure to consult with the citizenry.
On the illicicit financial flows which is one topic the conference will be tackling, Mr Chiteme said the problem is still rife in Zambia.
He however said some external organizations such as the world bank have offered to help Zambia deal with the problem of illicit financial flows.
And the African Union deputy chairperson Thomas Quartey said the implementation of the CFTA will see increased GDPs in countries that will fully participate.
He said the need for appropriate infrastructure to link African Countries was priority for the CFTA to be successful.
UNESCO Secretary General Vera Songwe said also implored African states to ratify the CFTA as it will create benefits for African especially youths and women.
And speaking during a side Event on Data Gaps for Sustainable Development, Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Bwalya N’gandu said the decision by the Zambian government to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals in the Seventh National Development plan has helped to bring the SGDs into focus and the prominence to achieve them.
He said the alignment of SDGs with the NDP in a practical way with priority being assigned to each SDG.
Dr N’gandu further called for prudent utilization of resources if African countries are to achieve the much need goals.
The writer is the First Secretary-Press & Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.