In Photos: AfCFTA delegation visits Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone
A high-level delegation from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has visited on Tuesday Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) project located to explore investment opportunities there.
The AfCFTA delegation, led by its Secretary General Wamkele Mene, has discussed investment opportunities in the SCZone, one of the mega projects in Egypt, and means to boost bilateral trade cooperation between African countries.
African Continental Free Trade Area
The AfCFTA would, if successful, become the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1994, seeking to bring 1.3 billion people together in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. It is set to create a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to increase intra-African trade.
Its supporters said the bloc would boost living standards, encourage development and make Africa less dependent on trade with other regions.
AfCFTA is being brought into effect in stages, the first being to establish a protocol for trade in goods and services and dispute-settlement rules. The second is set to cover competition, investment, and intellectual property rights.
To date, 30 out of the 55 states – including Egypt – in the African Union have both signed and ratified the AfCFTA. Only Eritrea has yet to sign, according to Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (TRALAC), a South Africa-based trade law organisation.
According to a World Bank study, the AfCFTA, if implemented effectively, by the year 2035, the continental free-trade zone has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and 70 million people out of moderate poverty.
Suez Canal Economic Zone
Established in 2015, the SCZone is an innovative and self-sustaining industrial development corridor that will transform 461 square kilometres and four maritime ports strategically located along one of world’s most main trading routes into an international commercial hub.
It is strategically located on the main trade route between Europe and Asia, more than eight percent of global trade passes through every year.
Spanning 461 km², almost two-thirds the size of Singapore, the SCZone consists of two integrated areas, four ports, and four industrial zones scattered along the waterway, through which passes almost 10% of world trade, or 18,000 ships a year.
The two integrated areas are Ain Sokhna including Ain Sokhna Port and East Port Said with East Port Said Port. The two development areas are Qantara West and East Ismailia.
Poised to support nearly one million new jobs and two million new residents, the SCZone will transform and modernize Egypt’s economy while creating a new hub for global commerce.