African countries that have deposited their instruments of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) ratification are eyeing over $70 billion in development assistance. This is according to the Chief of Staff of the world’s largest trade area Secretariat, Silver Ojakol, who made the disclosure at the 2023 Regional Integration Issues Forum (RIIF) which was held in Accra, Ghana’s capital city.
The countries include -Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Eswatini, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Congo, Rep., Djibouti, Mauritania, Uganda, Senegal, Togo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Rep., Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, São Tomé & Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, Central African Rep., Angola, Lesotho, Tunisia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Algeria, Burundi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Cabo Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Guinea-Bissau, Botswana, Comoros and Mozambique.
AfroWorldNews understands that the RIIF is a sensitization mechanism and an interface platform designed to increase awareness of the AfCFTA and its benefits for SMEs as well as to strengthen their capacity to engage in intra-African trade.
Speaking on the backdrop of the event, Ojakol, who spoke on behalf of the AfCFTA Secretary General, Wamkele Mene, stated that large earnings would be generated if SMEs work hand-in-hand, and collectively embrace the tenets of the trade area to overcome commercial barriers in the continent.
“The agreement was designed and framed for the women and young men who on a daily basis face challenges across the continent when crossing neighbouring borders to trade in goods and services.
“If African countries came together and achieved just one percentage increase in trade amongst itself, we would earn $70 billion, which will be higher than the $58 billion given by donors as development assistance,” a statement quoted the AfCFTA as saying.
Understanding why AfCFTA was established
It is common knowledge that Africa is plagued with enormous challenges, but the one that influenced the establishment of the AfCFTA was trading barriers in the continent. Over the years, international bodies, economic experts, and stakeholders have clamored for unity among African countries to give them the leverage they need for global equalization.
Amongst them was Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), who even recently called for the dismantling of all economic barriers hindering free trade among the nations in order to achieve sustainable growth and development across the continent.
“The multi-layered issues that we face globally and across regions today, ranging from rising energy costs, food insecurity, supply-chain disruptions, access to quality healthcare, cyber security, inflation amongst others brought about by the pandemic or other human factors like the Russia-Ukraine war, call for an objective rethink of geopolitics and geo-economics, especially as they vastly affect policy execution and the ease of doing business in more vulnerable economies,” the African richest man was quoted as saying.
Defined objectives of the AfCFTA
Since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there has not been a free trade area as large as that. So, with AfCFTA, Africa can boast of having the largest trade area in the globe.
Below are what African countries look forward to achieving with AfCFTA:
- Increasing trade among African countries which currently ranges between 15-18%.
- Stimulate production through the development of regional value chains, to ensure that manufacturing, agro-processing, and other activities across the continent are stimulated to supply the market.
- Strengthen the capacities of African companies to access and supply world markets.
- Strengthen Africa’s economic and commercial diplomacy.
AFRO WORLD NEWS