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Strategic autonomy of a continental free trade market of 1.4 billion people

Strategic autonomy of a continental free trade market of 1.4 billion people

By Freeman Ya Ngulu.

The African economy grew at 3.8% in 2023. The projected growth for 2024 is 4.0%.

The Commissioner for the African Union for Economic Development, Tourism, Trade, Industry, Minerals, HE Ambassador Albert Muchanga said at the Conference on Implementation Strategies for the African Continental Free Trade Area, held in Nairobi, Kenya, that Africa will be the second highest growth region in the world in 2024.

Titled “Towards a peer learning community” Muchanga, speaking on behalf of the Chief Executive of The Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF) and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Madam Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Muchanga said ongoing initiatives have been designed to achieve a prosperous Africa as the world is expected to go through increased fragmentation of international trade.

With respect to manufacturing, Muchanga said plans are afoot to roll out the Made in Africa standard this year. In doing so, to promote quality and originality, the standard will also remove Technical Barriers to Trade in the AfCFTA marketplace.

Globally, manufacturing accounts for 52% of international trade. In the case of Africa, manufacturing accounts for 40% to 42% of the commodity composition of intra-African trade.

“Against this background, we, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, the European Union, GIZ of Germany and UNIDO commissioned a value chain diagnostic study to identify sectors with high potential for sustainable value chain development in Africa and the bottlenecks preventing businesses from fully realizing this potential.” Muchanga said.

The diagnostic study, released last year, mapped 5,300 products as inputs or outputs, and identified 415 continental value chains. The sectors of pharmaceuticals, baby food, apparel and textiles as well as automobiles were identified as priority sectors for investment in the AfCFTA.

“This collaboration will further deepen and broaden as we mobilize the African private sector to participate in the G20 Business Summit.” Muchanga said. “We are also developing regional agro-parks across Africa to stimulate agro-processing. This will contribute to both increased intra-African trade and food security.”

Speaking on good governance. Muchanga said that the African Union continues monitoring of elections across Africa, combating corruption and imposing sanctions among those involved in unconstitutional changes of government. “We are, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, formulating a programme on the nexus between peace, security and stability on the one hand and sustainable development and regional integration on the other,” he said.

In his concluding remarks to a panel, Muchanga said collaborative talks with African private sectors organisations such as the Pan African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Pan African Manufacturers Association and the African Business Council are underway.


About The Author

Freeman Ya Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an investigtor, an author and a keen entrepreneur. His speciality is data journalism for which he loves to dig deep into topics often ignored by mainstream reporting. He tweets @hobameteorite.