Private sector pivotal for AfCFTA success, underline experts

Experts call for the strengthening of the engagement of the private sector in order to make AfCFTA successful.
In a joint event organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Country Office Ethiopia/AU/ and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on June 16, 2022 at Hilton hotel; leaders, policy makers, and experts from the AU member states, the AU Commission, and other stakeholders from the private and public sectors evaluated the progress of the AfCFTA and highlighted the importance and role of the private sector.
Two panel discussion during the event which focused on the crosscutting and topical issues under the theme, “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Private Sector: Realizing Africa’s Full Potential” looked into the overall progress of the AfCFTA and the second extend the discussions and looked at national interests and comparative advantages to be gained through the AfCFTA in the continent with views from the private sector reflected upon.
As participants insisted, the active engagement of the private sector alongside the government support of the AfCFTA successful implementation is central to ensure sustainable development under this agreement.
Panelists asserted that there is considerable gap when it came to the private sector awareness of the AfCFTA despite them being the backbone. Thus more on the capacity building and awareness raising front was noted to be essential for the private sector to understand the implication of the agreement on their business including the phase II issues for instance the role of the investment protocols in supporting the development of an effective and competitive private sector by establishing an equal playing field for investment.
As Indicated on the event, the AfCFTA national implementation strategies of several countries entailed the importance of inclusive implementation of the AfCFTA through improved private sector engagement including SMEs as well as women and youth.
Experts participating in the event recommended creating awareness and building capacity for the private sector on the AfCFTA opportunities and its mechanism of operation at the national and continental level. Furthermore they suggested that the private sector should be engaged in the private sector in the implementation process so as to take the full advantage of the agreement. In return they opined that the private sector must better organize its self to engage with policy and technical negotiators particularly at the national level, in addition to simplifying administrative procedures for the ease of doing business from Africa investments in sector of interest of the private sector and the strategy for Africa’s potential for the regional value chains.

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