ETHIOPIA. Addis Ababa: During the online launch of a free trade agreement under the AfCFTA Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene said that the COVID-19 has given African countries an opportunity to have a soul search on the continent’s business opportunities.
Mene emphasized the fact that Africa is heavily reliant on the export of primary commodities and overly reliant on global supply chains.
He said, “When the global supply chains are disrupted we know that Africa suffers”.
The trade agreement was supposed to be launched in July 2020 with face to face meetings but was deferred to January this year.
What it Aims to Achieve
The new trade agreement aims at increasing consumer spending to $6.7 trillion by 2030. It will enable an easy movement of manufactured goods within Africa’s 54 countries and address non-tariff barriers.
In 2019 only 3 percent of Africa’s exports came from within the continent, totaling $560bn. Petroleum products lead the list seconded by automobiles.
The World Bank predicts that if fully implemented, the agreement will lift tens of millions of Africans out of poverty by 2035.
Speaking at the virtual event Ghana president Nana Akufo Addo said, “There is a new Africa ermeging with a sense of urgency and an aspiration to become self reliant”.