August 27, 2019: Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa has addressed the 45th G7 summit and Africa Partnership meet in Biarritz, France, where he mentioned Africa's recent milestone that saw 55 countries adopting Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

Acknowledging the host, French president Emmanuel Macron, and other heads of state, Ramaphosa said, "This Summit's focus on reducing inequality is particularly relevant for the G7 and Africa Partnership because of the severe inequality between the countries of Africa and developed nations, and also because of the levels of inequality within Africa.

He stated, "This free trade area is now the largest on the globe, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion."

Ramaphosa said the development would lead to the creation of a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. Additionally, it would lead to an expansion of intra-Africa trade and a more diverse, balanced and sustainable export base for African economies.

"We are confident that this free trade agreement will unleash Africa's economic potential and consolidate its position as a new frontier of economic growth and development," he remarked.

He said as a flagship of the African Union's (AU) agenda 2063, the trade opportunities would engender peace and stability on the continent.

"In the context of south-north co-operation, we look forward to G7 countries joining us in a mutually beneficial partnership. We expect that this partnership will help Africa realise its potential through investment and access to markets, capital, technology, and skills. Through the cooperation we have envisaged here, we can work together to ensure digitisation reduces inequality and supports inclusive economic growth," said Ramaphosa.

"This will lay the basis for the development of infrastructure and the institutions we need to maximise the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution," said Ramaphosa.

The AU Commission is currently developing a comprehensive Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa that will provide a common, coordinated response to realise the digitisation of the continent.

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