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First Africa Prosperity Dialogue Ends With Commitment to Accelerate AfCFTA Implementation.

 The maiden edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues, dubbed the “Kwahu Summit”, convened in Ghana from 26-28 January, ended with the adoption of a business and policy leaders Compact to fast-track implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement as a development accelerator for Africa’s prosperity.

“Africa can walk away from economies that are only based on raw material extraction, to those that are driven by higher productivity, industrialization, and regional value chains’, said Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, at the opening of the Summit.

Under the theme: “AfCFTA: From Ambition to Action, Delivering Prosperity through Continental Trade,” the three-day event was organized by Ghana’s Africa Prosperity Network, and the AfCFTA Secretariat with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

“We want to trade on the basis of rules, to have market certainty, predictability and ensure we reach the objectives of the AfCFTA, and double intra-Africa trade by 2035”, stated H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, emphasizing that the instruments to facilitate trade under the AfCFTA were ready for use and encouraging businesses to kickstart trade in earnest.

 

Mr. Stephen Karingi, Director of Regional Integration and Trade at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) noted that “Africa is ready to turn the promises of the AfCFTA to reality, and ECA will be there all the way.”

Inadequate infrastructure (transport, communications, energy, information technology), weak trade facilitation processes, access to finance, and free movement of persons were identified as priority issues to advance manifestation of the AfCFTA.

 

UNDP, and UNECA committed to step up support to governments and businesses to realize the AfCFTA potential, particularly for women and youth. The Compact adopted during the Summit underlined that special measures would be adopted to support women and youth-led Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

Other highlights of the Compact include Governments committing to provide enabling environments for businesses to thrive, investing in infrastructure, establishing community-level incubation centres and adopting entrepreneurial approaches to education.

Businesses pledged to increase investment in science technology and innovation to power value - added Made-in-Africa production and industrialization; while the AfCFTA Secretariat committed to support States in accelerating implementation and finalizing negotiations on Protocols on Digital Trade and Women and Youth in Trade by July 2023.

 

On their part, multilateral development banks, regional development finance institutions, commercial banks, investors, and other financiers were called upon to offer attractive and affordable trade finance to support private sector engagement with the AfCFTA market.

In receiving the business and policy leaders Compact on behalf of African leaders, H.E. Nana Akuffo Addo, President of Ghana, pledged his commitment to the AfCFTA and called on all partners to play their part in fully implementing the AfCFTA.

“Let us all see ourselves as champions of intra-Africa trade. Businesses must own the AfCFTA”, urged President Akuffo Addo.

The Kwahu Summit will meet annually, under the Africa Prosperity Dialogue, to take stock of the progress of the Compact.

 

 

 

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