President Edgar Lungu says the Continental Free Trade area, which African countries are advocating for, will not succeed without inter-regional trade.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa this morning, President Lungu said African countries needed to first recognise the current economic status of each individual member state in order for the Continental Free Trade to yield good results.

“Let me begin by appreciating the efforts made so far with regard to economic integration in Africa, we are hopeful that efforts are being made to expedite further deepening of the economic integration for the common good of the continent,” President Lungu said.

“The Continental Free Trade Area, which we are aspiring for, is an initiative aimed at integrating African markets and the initiative requires what I may call a ‘well coordinated mechanism’ to ensure that regional outcomes compliment each other. Secondly, I think we hope to use this as a vehicle for collaborating effectively and regional tripartite and continental meetings and progress. The regional part is ourselves here in SADC and then the continent itself and COMESA. But, for the continental free trade area to be successful, I think we need to have inter-regional trade.”

President Lungu said there was need for united efforts from private sector experts in order for the integration of the Continental Free Trade to be successful.

“I think for us in Zambia, it’s about getting the technocrats in the private sector to sit them together and see how we can realise and get life to this vision because the vision is common but the integration is where we are getting it wrong because the level is in the details just like I said that some economies are strong while others are very weak and so on,” said President Lungu.