The 10th Extraordinary Heads of State summit was held in Rwanda’s capital Kigali last month, the summit brought up over 22 African Presidents and more than 20 Heads of Government and delegations, on the meeting Agenda was enactment of the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
On 21st March 2018, three pacts were signed by 44 African countries including the AfCFTA Consolidated Text, Kigali Declaration and Free Movement Protocol, this will go down in the history as the day Africa decided and committed to become one Market, the day Africa set its roadmap, ignited its engine and begun the race striving and working hard to deliver on the objectives of #Agenda 2063, make the Africa a great continent worth living on.
The Establishment of the #AfCFTA means the whole African continent having a liberalized single market that attracts over one billion people, which will spur industrialization, infrastructural development bringing up many more business and jobs opportunities. Africa needs to be smart, coming up with high level technologies, artificial intelligence and other new technology invention, well build infrastructure as well industries that will enable Africa to compete on the international market in this so fast moving world of business. The AfCFTA will enable the intra- Africa trade, creating environment whereby doing business between African countries will be easy and more profitable, all Africans will be able to trade their goods and services across all other countries on the continent without hefty taxes and other hindrances.
On the Free Movement of People, this will as well easy the way of doing business throughout the continent as countries waive VISA requirements to all Africans travelling in any African countries, a move that will facilitate them in venturing into various sectors in different countries, it also opens up opportunities with People with competitive advantages to manufacture and sell their goods and services across the continent without barriers. Through AfCFTA free movement protocol provides all Africans with the right of residence and right of establishment making good sense to Africans when it comes to doing business, fetch for greener pastures without any restrictions, through this deal any country would be a home for any African as he desires.
Strengthening multilateral ties, this will see countries coming up together as one, increasing the cooperation between countries, this will also helping in putting up mechanisms of working together in securing the continent, fighting the emerging Terror Groups as well as rebellions in some of the insecurity-hit countries so as to secure them; the cooperation will help in sharing policies and models to eradicate poverty, protecting sovereignty thus creating good environment and working conditions to attract capital of both Africa and foreign investors to do business
Exporting African resources such minerals and other raw materials is to become a bygone, with good industrialization and developed infrastructure, Africans will be able to exploit its resources, have capacity and skills to produce goods and services to compete on the international arena, the move is also to help Africa cut on its exports and expenses incurred abroad in countries such United States of America, China, United Arab Emirates etc. hence cutting on the foreign currency (US Dollar, UK Pounds and Euro) demand as Africa will be able to produce for its self, satisfying its demand and be able to sell abroad.
However, some countries did not sign, this can be seen as a move to hinder the #AfCFTA deal, some observe the AfCFTA efforts with skepticism, they doubt on its success, some other countries don’t wish to see Africa become one market, allowing free movement of people and properties maybe for fearing for their security, businesses and competition
Although some countries, just a few number of them did not sign, it does not mean that they don’t understand the importance of the #AfCFTA, they still need time to understand the logic behind it and it will be profitable for their countries, Countries such Nigeria, one of the Africa’s biggest economies did not sign just because the political leadership first wanted to confer with their business stakeholders so as to have the same understanding on the establishment of #AfCFTA and what is expected from it; this requires all countries small and big and business enterprise to the success of the #AfCFTA
As President Paul Kagame said, “we only have ourselves to blame and #AfCFTA is too important to fail.”. The #AfCFTA will absolutely succeed and Africa has just almost become one market, intra-Africa trade and investment is to become easier with no more impediments, whereby doing business between countries will know no borders.
Trading with no borders and free movement of people and properties which will see an ordinary Mwanainchi/Muturage sell his sweet potatoes or Matoke across the continent is what Africans have all dreamt about.
As I was working on this piece, The Rwandan Parliament has just fully ratified the AfCFTA protocol after recent approval by the Cabinet, Kenya did the same as well, let other African countries follow suit.
The most critical resource of Africa is its unity, once Africa comes together as one Market then it is on the right track towards its success; It should not only stop or remain in signatures but African countries should shun skepticism, prove doubters wrong, commit, strive and work hard for the success of the #AfCFTA as to deliver towards the #Agenda20163, #TheAfricaWeWant.
Sam A. Sewanyana Jnr is a Political Analyst and IT Specialist.
The Express News