AU adopts compact for private sector inclusion in AfCFTA
THE African Union (AU) has adopted the action compact of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) to champion private sector inclusion in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The decision was arrived at after member states unanimously endorsed the compact action at the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, which took place from February 18 to 19, 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The assembly is the AU’s supreme policy and decision-making organ and comprises all Heads of State and Government of AU member states.
The summit was on the theme: "The year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area implementation".
A statement issued by the Africa Prosperity Dialogues yesterday said the action compact was a shared ownership approach initiated by the Africa Prosperity Network in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Government of Ghana, the host nation of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Per the statement, member states recognised that the AfCFTA agreement would contribute significantly to sustainable economic growth, employment generation, inflow of foreign direct investment, industrial development, better integration of the continent into the global economy and prosperity for all Africans.
“We discussed how to overcome critical challenges impeding the promotion of intra-African trade such as inadequate infrastructure, transport, communications, energy, information technology, poor trade facilitation processes, access to finance, and free movement of persons” the statement said.
It said the business leaders committed to take concrete steps in four thematic areas--business community, government, AfCFTA Secretariat and partners.
On the business community, the statement said member states agreed to advocate and utilise the AfCFTA preferential regime under its various instruments.
“We agreed to increase investment in science technology and innovation to power value-added made-in-Africa production and industrialisation, advocate full ratification and implementation of the AU protocol on free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment.
“We will work closely with the governments in the implementation of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA business community,” it said.
According to the statement, African governments were also called upon to “pursue commodity-based industrialisation to facilitate the production of high-quality goods and services within the African single market”.
“Establish community-level incubation centres and adopt an entrepreneurial approach to education, including technical and vocational education and training, as well as mainstream applied science, technology and innovation in the curriculum of our schools," it added.
The compact also urged member states to "set up special measures for women entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the AfCFTA, including supporting the #HERAfCFTA initiative and developing tailor-made programmes, including offering special incentives for youth-owned enterprises.
“Provide tailor-made programmes for African micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with incentives to strengthen capabilities, and capacities to accelerate industrialisation and trade.”
“Lastly, ratify the AU Protocol on the free movement of people and select a champion to ensure early entry into force,” it said.