President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on his colleague African leaders to step up and support the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA) agreement with all the political will at their disposal.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he addressed heads of state and participants at the 7th edition of the African Leadership Forum (ALF) on Thursday in Accra, under the theme; “Promoting intra-Africa trade to unlock agricultural potential in Africa”.
At the Forum, which is organised and managed by the UONGOZI Institute and the AfCFTA Secretariat, President Akufo-Addo said the event comes at a time when the entire continent has “hopefully come to the realisation that no country on the continent can afford to go it alone and that we in Africa are required to hasten the process of continental integration.”
“We cannot allow our collective fate to be decided by [external] shocks thousands and thousands of miles away. The time is long overdue for Africa to define our narrative, ” President Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo emphasised that the goal of defining Africa’s narrative cannot be achieved if Africans do not trade among themselves beyond the current threshold of 3 per cent of global trade and the low level of intra-Africa trade.
“The AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation and transformation. What is required now is for our respective governments and businesses to show bold leadership.
“We need coherent and complimentary strategic actions by governments and businesses, the right mix of policies and strategies for exports, value addition to raw commodities and a greater sense of purpose to ensure a robust intra-Africa to drive agricultural growth, economic diversification and the much-needed industrialisation of the continent,” the Ghanaian President maintained.
President Akufo-Addo disclosed that “unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential will help mobilise the requisite amount of financing needed to help develop the continent.”
Africa, according to President Akufo-Addo, “needs between 130 to 170 billion United States dollars annually to bridge her infrastructural gap and generate sustainable growth of at least 5% per year.”
This huge budget the President indicated “presents an exceptional opportunity for private sector investment” in the agricultural sector.
This high-level African Leadership Forum aims to explore the vast opportunities and address the obstacles hindering the realization of Africa’s agricultural potential.
The ALF brings together decision-makers and influential individuals to engage in thoughtful discussions and knowledge sharing. The key objectives of the forum are first to “Explore Africa’s Agricultural Potentials: Delve into the potential opportunities emerging from climate change and how they can be harnessed to drive agricultural development and sustainability.”
Second, “Overcome Obstacles: Share experiences and lessons learned regarding the internal and international obstacles that currently hinder the maximization of Africa’s agricultural potential. By understanding these challenges, we can collectively work towards effective solutions.”
Third, “Implementing a One-Trade Concept: Discuss the potential and challenges of implementing a unified intra-trade concept in Africa’s agriculture sector. Explore how increased collaboration and harmonisation can enhance productivity, efficiency, and market access across the continent.”
Fourth, “Practical Requirements: Engage in practical and realistic discussions on the requirements for implementing the one-trade concept in Africa’s agriculture. Address the necessary policies, infrastructure, technology, and capacity-building measures needed to facilitate seamless intra-trade.”
Lastly, “Unlocking the AfCFTA: Identify priorities, policies, and relationships necessary for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Recognize its transformative potential in promoting agricultural development, regional integration, and economic growth.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD