FRAMEWORK FOR BOOSTING INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE IN AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES AND SERVICES.

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African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Background:

What is AfCFTA?

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was founded in 2018. It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The free trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization. The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

AfCFTA seeks to encourage cooperation among member countries to secure opportunities on investments, intellectual property rights, and competition policy.  As a result, manufacture a single market giving Africa a globally competitive advantage.

A unified economic growth will ensue creating a sustainable approach in strengthening intra-African Trade. The AfCFTA agenda has the potential to increase intra-African trade by 52.3% by 2022 according to A New Horizon For Trade in Africa.

AfCFTA Objectives

Through AfCFTA, African nations stand an added advantage to implement critical tactics towards its trading issues. Well executed, the following objectives will initiate deep reforms necessary to enhance intra-African trade:

 

  • Increase in production and consumption of locally produced goods and services opening access to realize a single market and deepening the economic integration of the continent.
  • Improve agricultural productivity by heightening quantity of output produced. In the long- term productivity growth will be led by improvement in farmers’ production efficiency and technological progress.
  • Address chronic food insecurity by paying attention to the four pillars of food security: food availability, access to food, utilization and stability.
  • The manufacturing sector will increase its scope and size easing access to markets. It will aid movement of capital and people, facilitating investments.
  • SMEs, youth, women and disabled will stand to benefit through available opportunities. An achieved sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development will result to gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
  • An enhancement in competitiveness of member states within Africa and the global market shall strengthen Kenya’s pursuit of the national growth agenda.

AfCFTA: COVID-19 as a catalyst for Accelerating Trade and Investment in Africa

Through AfCFTA, African nations stand an added advantage to implement critical tactics towards its trading issues. Well executed, the following objectives will initiate deep reforms necessary to enhance intra-African trade:

 

  • Increase in production and consumption of locally produced goods and services opening access to realize a single market and deepening the economic integration of the continent.
  • Improve agricultural productivity by heightening quantity of output produced. In the long- term productivity growth will be led by improvement in farmers’ production efficiency and technological progress.
  • Address chronic food insecurity by paying attention to the four pillars of food security: food availability, access to food, utilization and stability.
  • The manufacturing sector will increase its scope and size easing access to markets. It will aid movement of capital and people, facilitating investments.
  • SMEs, youth, women and disabled will stand to benefit through available opportunities. An achieved sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development will result to gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
  • An enhancement in competitiveness of member states within Africa and the global market shall strengthen Kenya’s pursuit of the national growth agenda.

Retool the AfCFTA for COVID-19

African nations should use the AfCFTA innovatively to focus on central issues required to fight the pandemic. Some countries have initiated a mental parading shift to remain innovative. For instance, some factories hit by the drop in production have resulted to manufacture protective equipment. In Ghana, a liquor manufacturing company switched production to make hand sanitizer. Several other nations have cultured such innovations to generate home-grown goods.

In Ghana, technology was leveraged to have drones deliver test samples faster to reach research centers. Aware this is the inception of a new normal, it should inspire African countries to shift to alternative innovative ways to remain relevant.