Africans have been urged to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) protocols to boost their economies and leapfrog food security in the sub-Saharan region.

This is coming on the heels of the revelation that Africa currently has the lowest inter-regional trade across the world (which represents only about 13% of the Continent’s Global Trade, compared to Asia’s 60%).

The charge was part of the resolutions reached at the just concluded Africa Economic Summit 2024, with the theme, “Africa: Riding the crest of global economic and political volatility.”

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A communique, which was signed by the President of the Africa Economic Summit 2024, Dr Sam Ohuabunwa, and the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Economic Summit Group, Dr. Brian Reuben, and made available to Journalists on Thursday, in Abakaliki, said there was an urgent need for African countries have a global outlook and aggravate sufficient resources to compete favourably with others such as the United States of America; China; India, amongst others.

According to the communique, “Africa currently has the lowest inter regional trade in the world which represents only about 13% of Africa’s Global Trade(compared to Asia’s 60% for example). The Summit resolved that African Nations must quickly embrace the African Continental Free Trade Agreement ( AfCFTA) protocols and quickly dismantle all obstacles to the full consummation of the agreement. The Summit therefore called on the African Union ( AU) to set a target of at least 30% of intra-African trade by 2030.

“To aggressively pursue this goal which will bring tremendous salutary effect to the African economy, the summit urged the AU and particularly the AfCFTA to adopt the Slogan: One Africa! One Family!! One Economy!!! This slogan should serve as a tonic and aclarion call for all Africans to think globally African. It is our best chance of aggregating sufficient resources and energy to compete with the other Continents made up of very large countries like the USA, China, and India. The small and brittle countries of Africa can never be competitive on their own.

“In addition to pulling together resources ( human and material), the next critical factor that can help Africa leapfrog and achieve SDG goals is an aggressive investment in digital transformation to drive economic, political, and social development. Internet penetration and application is Africa’s best opportunity to mobilise the energies of our active youth population and drive employment and creativity.

“Investing in digital technology infrastructure has a multifactorial impact on education, healthcare, agriculture, financial inclusion, and security in Africa. African Governments, with a fraction of the money spent on international travel and perquisites of office of the political class, can further fan the embers of this digital revolution which is already ignited and taking root in some African Nations mostly by private sector initiatives.

“The summit decried the embarrassing situation of Food scarcity and unbridled food inflation in Africa and determined that Africa must set a date to stop importing all manner of food. Beyond dealing with enhanced food security, African nations need to adopt new schemes that resolve the trinity of challenges that currently beset agriculture.”

It added, “Explore innovative funding. Mobilise domestic and foreign investments for critical projects. Minimise borrowing, prioritise projects and use internally generated resources. Start winding down from aid and replace it with trade and provide incentives for diaspora bonds and investments.

“Deliberately promote gender equity and inclusiveness in African Political leadership with focus on the younger generation and an ethically engineered Leadership development.

“Create a conducive business environment by simplifying regulations, and minimising bureaucracy,and promote entrepreneurship.”


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