Ugandan traders skeptical over free trade agreement

Some Ugandan traders have expressed reservations over the country joining the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) deal signed in March.

The traders are not convinced the new bloc would benefit them.

Forty-four African countries signed the historic trade agreement on 21 March, aimed at enabling free cross-border trade on the continent.

The CFTA agreement is expected to create a market for over a billion people, with a GDP of approximately US$2.6 trillion.

The decision to establish the CFTA was initially arrived at in the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2012, with a tentative launch date of 2017.

The Ugandan traders against the deal argue that the East African country does not produce enough to warrant fair trade with other countries.

“We can’t produce enough coffee, we can’t produce cotton, we can’t produce tobacco, so why do we go to this market.” Fredrick Senoga, a grain trader in the country said.

The trade ministry however says joining the continental block gives it a competitive edge.

The government also says it will make sure joining the bloc won’t wipe out any of its domestic sectors.