The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Trade in Services Signaling Conference was held at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa on 2 – 3 September 2019. The main objective of the conference was to enable exchange among service providers and negotiators on non-binding indications of market openings, existing or future. Participants were also able to communicate their expectations from each other. The conference was attended by Ministers, chief negotiators and services experts from AU Member States. Representatives from the African private sector also attended the conference. Also in attendance were personnel from the African Union Commission (AUC), services experts from the following RECs Secretariats: ECCAS, EAC and SADC; as well as AU Partner institutions: UNECA, and Afreximbank, and from AU cooperating partners, GIZ and the World Bank. A group of experts from GFA Consultants, including 4IP Group, commissioned by the DTI/AUC, are conducting studies on the five priority services sectors as background for the negotiations. The first session covered presentations on the business and communication sectors. On day two
AGENDA ITEM 8: Presentations on sector studies – financial, transport and tourism services were done. The transport services study was presented by Dr Christian Kingombe, 4IP Group Managing Partner. He mentioned that typical issues affecting trade in the transport sector are market entry conditions and conditions on operations. These are specifically measures affecting competition, administrative procedures and regulatory transparency. Fewer than half of the current African WTO Member States (17) have made commitments in at least one mode of transport. The main issues of concern are market access, national treatment and the Most Favored Nation principle. The presentation highlighted that, in line with the AUC Agenda 2063 vision for Africa and the vision of the AU Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the long term transport vision for Africa should provide sustainable, reliable, modern, efficient, cost effective and fully integrated transport infrastructure and freight and passenger transport services that support continental and regional integration, and meet future transport demand and support African business through easy and seamless logistics systems.
Christian Kingombe will be presenting his AUC study at the forthcoming WTO Public Forum on the 9th of October from 8.30-10 a.m. Followers and clients of 4IP Group are welcome to register their participation should they wish to engage with 4IP Group on these transport and logistics services issues.