Africa’s upswing is overdue and when the United States of America had a very racialist President the continent was not only on autopilot from Washington but there were pockets of sabotage. We all remember the state Department under that chunky spy as secretary of state tried to influence the leadership of the African Development Bank. In November when it was clear that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria would take the most top Job at the World Trade Organization Trump felt and acted to obstruct the proceeding. The racists lost the White House giving a chance to a Lady from Nigeria to lead the WTO.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Between tomorrow and 7th Nov, the new Director-General for WTO will be announced and it will either be Ngozi Okonjo-Iweda from Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee from South Korea. Any of the two ladies have what it takes to heal the World Trade Organization.~W</p>— Musanjufu Benjamin (@Benjamin_Watch) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Benjamin_Watch/status/1320982126867685378?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Apart from that, something happened on the 1st of January 2021 for the African continent. We are well into the second month of the year and by now we all know about the AfCFTA which came into effect on the first hour of this year after it was delayed by the pandemic that has besieged the entire planet. In the past on this blog and other sites have written about a united Africa as a country and it has been viewed as featurism content and wishful thinking. One Africa has been in the works since the 1960s and the African Union has a 2063 Agenda for a borderless Africa with a single African Union Passport.
The African Continental Free Trade Area makes every wish a possibility and dream a reality. Today with this beautiful continent there are 55 markets but the AfCFTA will guarantee one bigger market. It is in theory the world largest single Market since 54 nations apart from Eritrea which is more of an extension of Ethiopia blowing off for now. Of the 54 countries, 33 have put the deal into force through mostly regional blocks. This is a picture of a market of 1.2 billion people with a GDP of $ 2.5 trillion. At an early rate, we are looking at the likelihood of the 8th largest economy in the world.
For a very long time, Africa has managed to trade with the rest of the world but has virtually failed to trade with herself. For example, Kenya in East Africa exports about $ 1 billion worth of goods to the United States and about $ 500 million to the European Union but only exports about $ 69 million worth of goods to her neighbor Ethiopia. It’s such scenarios that the AFCFTA is going for. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is also called “Africa for Africans” and he walked the talk in March of 2018 when this all project started to take shape after three years of negotiations. The AFCFTA comes off as a diplomatic score for this continent if you critically think of how Nigeria that was not into it till the last stages as a singled out case among many pitfalls along the way to 1st January 2021.
In summary the AfCFTA will augment the intra-African trade landscape and export structure building from the skeletons of the EAC in the east, ECOWAS in the west and SADAC in the South among other regional blogs. At the moment Africa needs to Formulate a sound global economic influence and AfCFTA seems like the deal maker. Because domestic policy for each country are going to be crucial in the bid to fall through on the issue, cultivating better policy frameworks will cut the competition. With value addition on the line African countries will Facilitate specialization and boost industrialization. Comparative advantage will be partly at play for example those countries that are good at education will dominate that for the former and the latter transferring industry to spread growth and in search of cheap labor will create employment. With the AfCFTA reinforcing regional and inter-state partnership will be automatic and by default. The AfCFTA with its duty free move will Increase employment and investment opportunities, as well as technological development causing a nearly $ 450 billion income growth. The AfCFTA is likely to cause an export boost of about $ 560 billion across the continent raising wages for groups like women and bring 30 million Africans from poverty.
By the time Wamkele Mene the Secretary-General of AfCFTA 4 year term ends he will be summed on how far establishing a single market and deepening the economic integration of Africa would have gone and as a people, we all have roles to play. Through various diplomatic channels to organize a liberalized market through numerous rounds of negotiations will mean the AfCFTA looks for those qualified for the task. How aiding the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment with the 90% elimination of tariffs. Setting the stage and pace for a future continental customs union. On modernity and human rights to attain bearable and broad socioeconomic growth, gender parity and structural shifts within member states. To carefully strengthen competitiveness of partner states within Africa on global stage. Most importantly AfCFTA will have to grapple with stimulating industrial evolution through diversification and regional value chain development which will put absolute advantage to the edge in order not to create trade wars. Since the President of Ghana said Africa will not need the Western world anymore, then agricultural development and food security will be key for AfCFTA because food is the best vaccine for chaos.
For that United Africa that our forefathers wished for Africa has to start somewhere. They started by talking and today a shadow is taking form. Who knows when the African Currency, African Central Bank, and African Stock market could be the children of the AFCFTA. For content creators especially those who associate with Afrobloggers clearly know the importance of a united Africa and the benefits. The AfCFTA is not just an End to a few challenges but a means to a million possibilities for example cheaper travel without visas across Africa. In trade which ins the principal for AfCFTA information will be vital and the best people to do that are content creators, if positioned properly could cash in on the tide on the horizon.
One of the best reasons why Africans need unity is because of colonialism and with the AfCFTA the second Empire can not hold. Umoja no nguvu, utengano no udhaifu simply United we stand and disconnected we fall in Swahili. Are you personally ready for the free trade area and what comes with it?
Of course, there will be challenges like poor road and rail links especially in central Africa, other regions at the moment have set up networks for example one can travel across East Africa in less than 48 hours. Uganda is already committing to construct roads in DRC even when sometimes the citizens have to enter Congo to access their villages but this is Africa. Political turmoil will always be in play with mind sets of leaders that live to be leaders but it’s a matter of time. We have heard about excessive border bureaucracy in West Africa but ECOWAS is a miracle anyway we are not magicians and will have to opt and stick to baby steps.
substantial tariff income losings and an unequal diffusion of payments and privileges can not be ignored but this gives member states an opportunity to negotiate and employ economic diplomats if it’s a thing. Support models and flexibility should be studied for a reasonable sharing of taxes and privileges, to lessen adjustment costs and to achieve the set objectives.
With time ratifying, trade liberalization in the free trade area will decrease trade costs and enables citizens to access an incredible variation of commodities at lowest prices. So you may consider to adjust your pricing for a cooperate blog post to position your brand well. When it comes to procurement and logistics or purchasing and shipping actually what may seem like lower costs for imported raw materials and middle inputs will improve competition of downstream producers of including service again like content creation and stimulate the age of regional value chains that mean something.
Open markets will allow brands to access a large continental market and gain from economies of scale, personally am thinking about my readership. We have to embrace competition because with a wider Africa at play we shall have pressures to improve our brand efficiency. But we all have to look out for market consolidation that will come up against smaller businesses which will eventually be jeopardized by stiffer competition.
All in all, we should be happy about the AfCFTA, I don’t remember the last time I was this optimistic about anything but being critical will come when accountability is on call.
Going forward I want to read more on AfCFTA from you, it’s vital we own the information about our Africa. I am also looking forward to hearing your take on an African free trade area.