ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia is ready to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (aFcfta), says Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is his opening remarks at the Conference of African Finance, Planning and Economic Development Ministers which kicked off here Monday.

Abiy said the theme of the conference, African Continental Free Trade Area: Creating Fiscal Space for Jobs and Economic Diversification, was timely and of considerable value to all African countries.

Ethiopia is fully aware of the opportunities that the free trade agreement offers and is ready to follow Rwanda and Ghana for their pioneering role in the ratification of the agreement, he said.

Abiy urged all African countries to do the same in order to ensure that the AfCFTA can come into force soon.

According to him, Ethiopia has been engaged in ambitious programmes of upgrading infrastructure, building industrial parks, and formulating policies and strategies to support industrialization. Our efforts have led to meaningful improvements in Foreign Direct Investment to a significant part because we have established an increasingly more business-friendly Ethiopia, he pointed out.

The efforts have also yielded tangible results as evidenced by the growing share of the industrial sector in its contribution to the economy.

Abiy emphasized that the African Free Trade Agreement should be shaped and implemented so as to enable Africa to create opportunities for its citizens to spur our industrialization agenda, to ensure inclusive development for all Africans and particularly women and the youth.

The one and half day conference will deliberate an African Continental Free Trade Area, implementation of free trade by the private sector, creating fiscal space and financial stability.