This article is sponsored by Africa Collective
The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in terms of participating countries, bringing together 55 member countries of the African Union (AU) and 8 Regional Economic Communities (RECs). To date, 54 member states have signed the Agreement, of which 47 have ratified. With the potential to unlock a market of 1.4 billion people and a combined GDP of 3.4 trillion USD, the regional integration project will significantly transform the African continent. As intra-African trade develops, Africa’s trade position in the world and within global value chains will also evolve. These shifts make it critical for pan-African and global private sector players to keep engaging within communities such as the Africa Collective, to facilitate cross-continental and international engagements with key pan-African institutions such as the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Collaboration to accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA: The role of the African and global private sector
The AU theme of the year 2023, as adopted by the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Governments has been “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation”. The focus is clearly on propelling the implementation of the AfCFTA, whereby several initiatives are ensuring the practical integration of the AfCFTA into trade practices on the African continent, to explore this “New era of trade”.
As part of the implementation, the AfCFTA Secretariat has launched a Private Sector Engagement Strategy to engage with stakeholders across the public and private sectors with a focus on four initial priority sectors which are: agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals as well as transportation & logistics. This engagement includes working together with convening partners, such as the Africa Collective, that bring together African and global decision makers across the public and private sectors. They provide visibility to AfCFTA implementation initiatives, foster discussions around these priority sectors and nurture potential areas for collaboration. During its Davos 2024 program, Africa Collective will mobilize participants around some of the priority sectors and focus themes for the AfCFTA Secretariat including healthcare, agro-processing and investment with key questions throughout the agenda being: What role does the private sector play in the implementation of the AfCFTA and what more can be done? How can the opportunities that the African continent has to offer best be leveraged to further drive African economic growth?
Harnessing the power of networks for a strengthened collaboration on AfCFTA implementation
Bringing together key global and African decision makers from the private and public sectors is critical to fostering dialogue and collaboration both on the global stage and during pan-African events. The Africa Collective agenda, organized in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat, allows for the creation of a community of action and collaboration around critical topics for the continent. The full Africa Collective program of events during the Davos 2024 week will include dedicated thematic sessions on healthcare, agro-processing and investment, a Digital & Art Showcase Networking Cocktail and the Closing & Outlook Luncheon.
Further engagements throughout the year at key events enable the Africa Collective community to deepen discussions started in January in Davos. One key example is Biashara Afrika, launched in April 2023 in Cape Town by the AfCFTA Secretariat, which was the first ever face to face AfCFTA Business Forum. Biashara Afrika is a key annual pan-African business event at which the Africa Collective community will be present with its corporate partners to follow-up and develop topics and themes raised during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Another important event on the pan-African calendar is the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF). At the Intra-African Trade Fair 2023, held in Cairo, Egypt, the Africa Collective Community organized two company visits: one to El Sewedy, an Egyptian pan-African champion and Novartis, an international pharmaceutical company operating in Egypt. The company visits allowed participants to extend discussions, build relationships and see hands-on examples of how companies are producing and operating on the continent.
In the evolving landscape of African business and regional integration, the collaboration between the Africa Collective and the AfCFTA Secretariat stands as a beacon of opportunity and collaboration. The Africa Collective initiative, highlighted by a program in Davos during the World Economic Forum, creates a dynamic space for exchange of ideas, fostering dialogue and building partnerships around the immense opportunities presented by the AfCFTA. As the African continent undergoes transformative shifts through this historic free trade initiative, the involvement of global and pan-African private sector players becomes paramount. The envisioned community of action, spanning key sectors and events, exemplifies a commitment to harness the power of networks for a collaborative and inclusive implementation of the AfCFTA. The joint efforts underscore a shared commitment to realizing scalable African solutions and unlocking Africa’s vast potential on the global arena.
Visit the dedicated Africa Collective networking area in the lobby of the Hardrock Hotel between 14-19 January 2024.
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