- The birth of AfCFTA is in tandem with the hopes and aspirations of the founding fathers of the independent African states.
- The potential of Africa to compete effectively with the rest of the world and excel by trading with itself is limitless.
The dwindling demand for African goods in the United States, Europe and elsewhere has provided the greatest impetus for increased intra-Africa trade, of which the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a supreme instrument.
The continent stands to lose immensely if it continues to rely on markets beyond its frontiers for sustainability.
But it seems to have awoken to this reality and is seeking African solutions to its trade problems. That is why, on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, Addis Ababa hosted the initial dialogue on the implementation of AfCFTA.
Themed “Policy Dialogue of African Business Associations on Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area”, the event brought together more than 70 participants who are the stakeholders from state and non-state institutions and the business community from across Africa who will be the key drivers of the continent-wide initiative.
The main objective of the event was to bring African business organisations and leading business people together to gain a deeper understanding of AfCFTA objectives, landscape, sectoral policies and institutional arrangements with a view to supporting the implementation of the ambitious trade bloc and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by a continental single market.
The need to look for African solutions for African problems has never been more evident as it has become fairly clear that the developed world may not be genuinely interested in its development.
African states have become keenly aware of the so-called development partners in the global North, whose desire to see the continent flourish is suspect.
The coming to fruition of the AfCFTA on May 30 this year was the culmination of decades of concerted efforts to integrate trade within and between African states in order to enhance the continent’s global competitiveness.
AfCFTA came into formal existence 30 days after the 22nd state ratified its creation.
To date, 54 countries have signed the agreement to create AfCFTA while 27 have officially ratified the creation of the institution.
Eritrea is the only African country that has not yet signed the agreement, underscoring the overwhelming continental support that AfCFTA has attained so far.
This is a testament to the overall goodwill and the realisation among African states that the time for increased intra-Africa trade has arrived. And it has, for sure, been long in coming.