Business - Featured - Regional - Top Stories - March 24, 2021

Africa urged to engage private sector in the implementation of AfCFTA

Governments in Africa have been urged to deepen private sector businesses engagement in the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) so as to allow them to share their reflections and on-ground experiences.

The private sector is a major engine for sustainable economic growth and development, job creation and poverty alleviation in Africa and across the world.

However, private businesses’ participation in cross-border trade is very limited due to tariffs, non-tariff barriers which include complex customs and trade procedures, lack of access to finance, high transportation costs and lack of access to information, among others.

Speaking at the webinar hosted by Africa Development Bank (AfDB) today titled, “Implementing the AfCFTA: the Need for Deepening Private Sector Engagement and Commitment”, Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana (TBC) H.E. Mr. Alan Kyerematen said the AfCFTA is a a game changer for trade in Africa and private businesses must take advantage of it.

“Africa must build the performance of the private sector in the implementation of AfCFTA. The private sector must take advantage of AfCFTA as well as take full ownership through making sure that governments are observing the trade agreements.

Among the barriers of private sector engagement is lack of government support for action development, most private sectors are Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and they are not fully recognized in Africa, lack of access to financing of exports. ” he said.

The private business communities are the actual traders and investors; responsible for moving goods and services across border and as a result they must be the key stakeholders of AfCFTA which aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

During the webinar, Director, Private Sector, Trade, Employment and Digital Technologies, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany Ms. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, said the private sector are important in channelling investments into the sectors seizing opportunities for the African marketing.

“The private sector will increase support in the economic integration of AfCFTA and success is determined by the level of implementation.

Engagement of the private sector will reap results for AfCFTA and among them is a boost of African economies and increased Intra-African investments,” she said.

Full implementation of the AfCFTA will contribute to building Africa’s structural transformation and will reshape markets and economies across the region.

However, no matter how well grounded the AfCFTA objectives are, they will remain elusive if business in Africa is unable to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA, in terms of trade and investment.

To achieve the success and implementation of the AfCFTA, member states must actively engage with the private sector, allow them to share their reflections and on-ground experiences.

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