ITC Executive Director speech at the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area

21 March 2018
ITC News
Speech delivered by ITC Executive Director Arancha González at the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
21 Mar. 2018
Kigali, Rwanda


Today is a historic day. The launch of the Continental Free Trade Area is a clear signal from Africa to Africa and from Africa to the world. It is a message of engagement on trade, a commitment to regional integration and a plan to build inclusive and sustainable growth together.

As some around the world are having doubts about international cooperation you are confirming that it is your GPS to progress.

As some rally against open trade you are recognizing that trade generates opportunities.

As some look inward, you are recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The signal that you are giving today is an important one for the global landscape. But its worth is in what will actually be delivered on the ground when the agreement is implemented.

How it will impact the lives of ordinary citizens.

How it will lead to job creation.

How it will empower women in trade and how it will increase the competitiveness of African MSMEs.

Today you are sending the message that one can marry openness, inclusive growth, social progress and trade and investment through a regional integration lens.

I applaud you and the commitment to this process. Rest assured of the support of the International Trade Centre, your International Trade Centre since over 75% of our work takes place in this continent.

Feel proud of what you have achieved today. The CFTA raises the stakes and raises the possibilities. ITC will be walking with you.

Thank you.