The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which came into effect this year, is seen by African leaders as a “pathway to a prestigious made in Africa label.”
Produce what you need. The 2nd edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, which takes place on November 15-21 in Durban, South Africa, provides a framework for reflection to achieve this goal.
South Africa’s head of state Cyril Ramaphosa opines that it is time for the black continent to take “concrete steps to write its own economic success story. This, he said, means balancing trade relations with the rest of the world, which are currently “skewed.”
Over the next decade, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will provide “the opportunity for Africa to increase its revenues by billions of dollars,” according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Benedict Oramah, CEO of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), said the skepticism surrounding the initiative is unwarranted because “we have a strong and vibrant AfCFTA Secretariat with the knowledge and energy to deliver on its agenda.”
The process towards market integration may be long and difficult, but Wamkele Mene, Zlecaf's Secretary General, called on “Africans to roll up their sleeves and work hard to overcome all obstacles.”
The South African national went on to say he was “optimistic about the prospects for our continent’s future in light of the very first steps taken to address the challenges of market fragmentation.”
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said that with the Covid-19 pandemic, “the need to boost intra-regional trade has never been greater.”
The Intra-Africa Trade Fair is organized by Afreximbank in partnership with the African Union (AU) and the AfCFTA Secretariat. It brings together the economic development, trade and investment communities to negotiate agreements and agree on actions to promote intra-regional trade.
“During the 2018 edition, about $32 billion worth of agreements were concluded, of which nearly $25 billion have already been implemented and $2.5 billion are being processed,” the ADB says. The 3rd edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair is scheduled for 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire.