Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the adoption by the African Union of an agreement of free trade on the continent as "a new beginning for the continent that will catapult African countries and companies to much higher levels of growth".Ramaphosa returns to South Africa Wednesday night following the adoption of the agreement by the African Union at its 10th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.The Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should provide new and meaningful trade and investment opportunities across the African continent."This is an opportunity that is going to yield great benefits for all countries on the continent as well as big business, small companies and micro-traders," Ramaphosa said following the conclusion of his working visit to Rwanda."Africa’s vulnerabilities and limited participation in global trade are indicative of its traditional reliance on the export of raw commodities and the import of value-added products," he said.Also read: Ramaphosa signs declaration on African free trade regionRamaphosa, in his capacity as the Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said the trade-focused summit was a "forward step in the arduous journey to translate the African Continental Free Trade Area legal instrument into an effective conduit for increased trade and investment across the African continent".Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said he paid a courtesy call to Rwandan president and host of the summit Paul Kagame on Tuesday."The Presidents held discussions on strengthening bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation on continental and global questions," Diko said."Also yesterday (Tuesday), President Ramaphosa served as chair of an AfCFTA Business Forum on the financing of intra-African trade, before attending a welcome dinner hosted by President Kagame in honour of visiting Heads of State and Government."