The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is the brainchild of the African Union under the Pan-African Vision of “An integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa.
Consolidating Africa into one trade area provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers alike across Africa and a perfect opportunity to support the sustainable development agenda in the Sleeping Giant Africa.
The AfCFTA agreement which has come into effect this year has the potential to become a game changer and bring some great opportunities for entrepreneurs such as
1. Improving the intra-Africa trade landscape and export structure. This is because the customs tariff band shall be reduced to encourage more movement of goods and services across the continent
2. Developing better policy framework. Tax has always been one hitch that has knocked businesses out of the market on the continent. Looking at better policies to encourage more trade and business opportunities is going to be a key benefit for the continent
3. Providing the opportunity to harness African population dividend. Key to this is the Youthful population of the continent moving away from the dependency syndrome which is almost a scourge in many African countries
4. Increasing employment and investment opportunities, as well as technological development. Africa has many technocrats who have the ability to develop technologies that are going to bring the much needed opportunities and increase the opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers.
5. Strengthening regional and inter-state cooperation. Bilateral and multilateral relationships among countries are key to making the continent self sustaining and stop the dependency syndrome on the West and Eastern economies for economic salvation.
6. Fostering specialisation and boosting industrialization. Africa has remained a least developed region in the world because of failure by the continent to support industries of African descent. Industrialization is going to be key to making the vision of a prosperous and peaceful Africa come true.
The AfCFTA agreement which has come into effect this year is expected to create a liberalized market for goods and services which is going to present an open challenge to the entrepreneurs and businesses across the continent to up the game and present the best products for the African market.
For the AfCFTA agreement to be a success needs the Youthful population of the continent to be very active in the whole process. The African continent has a population of 1.3 billion people and much of it is Youthful. Africans need to be the main beneficiaries of the Agreement and in particular the Youthful population.
The benefits will only be realised when access to information, access to education and access to capital should fully be improved. Information on the AfCFTA agreement should not be concealed at all costs but should be easily accessible by the entrepreneurs and the business community
The vision of a prosperous and peaceful Africa is possible and the youth should be the key drivers of the AfCFTA agreement in making it a success. The African business community should work hard to make this possible and make Africa the future of the World Economy.