A Senior Partner at AB & David, and a member of the Afrochampions Initiative, David Ofosu-Dorte, has urged businesses across the African continent to adopt an African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) strategy post COVID-19.
According to him, the way businesses prepare for AfCFTA, would determine how much they would benefit from the initiative and help boost the continent’s economic growth agenda.
The commencement of trading within the AfCFTA is slated for 1st July 2020.
Following the economic impact of the novel Coronavirus on businesses, many business experts have called for the adoption of business continuity plans to make businesses more resilient.
But speaking on the on-air series of the Citi Business Festival, Mr. Ofosu-Dorte said focusing on a business continuity plan at this time without a strategy for AfCFTA post COVID-19 era would not be enough.
“An AfCFTA strategy is more apposite now than any other strategy if you are located in Africa. I think this is not the time for business continuity plans. If you are still doing business continuity plans then you have a very big issue because before COVID, you ought to have had business continuity plans or even if you didn’t have, you ought to have put some in place immediately,” he said.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has offered a favourable opportunity for African countries to re-strategize.
“This is the time for businesses in Africa to watch what their AfCFTA and post COVID-19 transformation plans are. The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to put that plan in place so that when the COVID-19 is over, they can actually take advantage of it because if the system changes, you are going to have another very disruptive issue being created by the AfCFTA for which many businesses will not be prepared for because they are focusing on business continuity plans of COVID-19,” he said.
Currently, intra-Africa trade is said to have grown from as low as 2% to 18% over a period of about fifteen years.
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.
The 2020 edition of the Citi Business Festival started on Monday, June 1, 2020, with a line-up of radio and TV programs.
It is sponsored by Absa Bank, GIPC, Citi 97.3FM, and powered by the most comprehensive business news website; citibusinessnews.com.