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Window of opportunity opens for Lesotho

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Lesotho stands better prospects of benefiting from trade agreement if it ratifies the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) that is expected to come into force soon.

The Prime Minister (PM) Rt. Hon Sam Matekane has last week received in audience a delegation that delivered a “special” message from the Kenyan President William Ruto on the TFTA.

This is according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

This is ahead of the implementation of the tripartite agreement that is set to be implemented next month.

“The TFTA is one of the important market access tools that Lesotho can utilize to facilitate market and product diversification. This has the potential to stimulate industrial development, investment and job creation,” the Ministry had said.

The TFTA is a tripartite group and it brings together the regional economic communities (RECs) the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The President’s delegation was led by Hon Moses Kuria, Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade and Industry.

The TFTA was proposed in 2015 to enable free trade between the member states of the three RECs. The agreement was signed the same year in Egypt by the 26 countries.

When  in force, it is anticipated to create a single African economic community covering just over 630 million population, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) running in the north of US$1.3 trillion, this was at the time of signing.

The TFTA is also expected to do away with the tariffs of all goods traded in the bloc. 

Meanwhile, Lesotho is further set for low hanging fruits through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) when gains momentum. The TFTA is said to be a step closer to realization of the AfCFTA that is also yet to enter into force when ratified by the member states.

The PM was flanked by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Hon Lejone Mpotjoana and the Minister of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism Hon Mokhethi Shelile.

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