AfCFTA: Catalyst for Empowering Inclusive Economic Development Across Africa

In Nairobi, African experts emphasized the crucial impact of fully implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for promoting inclusive growth across the continent. This was discussed at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Nairobi, Kenya. They highlighted how boosting continental trade would lessen Africa’s reliance on traditional Western markets.

Vincent Nmehielle, the AfDB Group’s secretary general, expressed that by liberalizing trade throughout Africa and eliminating import duties on locally manufactured goods, intra-African commerce would thrive, particularly benefiting small businesses. He also mentioned that increased trade among African nations would lead to diversification in export options, thus generating more job opportunities.

John Bosco Kalisa, the CEO of the East African Business Council, shared how they are educating small enterprises and women-owned businesses on trading procedures under the AfCFTA framework. Kalisa noted that Africa primarily exports raw minerals and agricultural goods, and the AfCFTA could enhance the value chain within the continent, fostering inclusive growth.

Kalisa also highlighted the current low intra-African trade rate at 18%, significantly lower compared to Asia’s 50% and Europe’s 70%. Monale Ratsoma, the director-general of the BRICS New Development Bank Africa Regional Center, emphasized their focus on developing infrastructure projects to facilitate smoother intra-continental trade.

With an estimated population of 1.2 billion people, the AfCFTA is anticipated to bring various social advantages, tackling inequalities in Africa by empowering marginalized communities. This move is seen as a significant step towards enhancing economic prosperity and cooperation within the continent.

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