The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Yofi Grant, is urging member countries of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA ) to leverage on lessons from covid-19 to accelerate development though trade.
Mr. Grant says Africa has the potential to become self-reliant and should be ready to embrace this misfortune to reposition the continent.
The World Bank in a recent forecast said the pandemic may push sub-Saharan Africa into recession in 2020 for the first time in 25 years.
It adds that the region’s economy will contract 2.1% to 5.1%, from a growth of 2.4% last year, and that it will cost the region $37 billion to $79 billion in output losses this year, due to trade and value chain disruption among others.
But Mr. Yofi Grant told Citi Business News there are opportunities in the misfortune for Africa to take a leap.
“Now is the time for us to also look at smart cities. But now is the time Africa through the AfCFTA is building one big common market where we can develop ourselves, manufacture for ourselves and use our own resources for our own development. We can’t be the richest continent and yet have poor people” he noted.
“Preparedness is how you make yourself, and I think the continent is ready. We are seeing new leadership on the continent. There are young African persons who are portraying leadership skills, creating stuff and that one big market will be the single largest tariff free market in the world.”
AfCFTA must kick off in July despite COVID-19 threat – Group advocates
Policy and advocacy think tank, AfroChampions, has advised that the July 2020 date for the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should not be rescheduled due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus.
The commencement of trading within the AfCFTA is slated for 1st July 2020.
According to the policy and advocacy think tank, though the highly anticipated July 2020 start of the AfCFTA is at risk, African governments can use the opportunity to rather trade in critical goods needed to fight the pandemic such as pharmaceutical and food products.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as of 2018 includes 28 countries.
It seeks to establish a single market for goods and services across 54 countries, allow the free movement of business travelers and investments, and create a continental customs union to streamline trade – and attract long-term investment.
With a combined market of over 1.2 billion people (which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050) and a GDP of $2.5 trillion, AfCFTA could potentially make Africa the largest free trade area in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.