His Excellency Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA spoke at ODI UK about how a single integrated market in Africa can bring economic transformation. His remarks centred around the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a key driver of continental integration and value chains, which are essential for unlocking Africa’s economic potential. The AfCFTA presents an opportunity to build an integrated African economy that is competitive, prosperous and resilient by creating a single market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was created to boost intra-African trade and economic transformation across the continent. His Excellency Wamkele Mene emphasised Value chains will be created and strengthened by the AfCFTA, which will lead to increased investment, productivity and competitiveness. This in turn will create jobs and reduce poverty. The AfCFTA is therefore a key part of Africa’s economic transformation.
The discussions centred around regional integration in Africa, inclusion for women, youth and SMEs and the role of the private sector. The global volatility caused by the covid pandemic and its impact on African economies was also discussed. The host, Dr. Sara Pantuliano posed questions about AfCFTA rules on trade and investment implementation as well as the role of the national implementation committees. Guests in attendance included the High Commissioners from Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, The Gambia and Uganda. Esteemed media and press included the Economist and Financial times. Representatives from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the UK Department for International Trade and British International investment were also present.