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East African private sector well positioned to benefit from AfCFTA

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East African private sector well positioned to benefit from AfCFTA

Protectionism and non-tariff barriers can block intra-African trade growth and called for the adoption of the pan-African mindset to advance the AfCFTA agenda

KIGALI, Rwanda, September 24, 2021 / APO Group / –

The business community is a key part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and could benefit enormously in terms of access to raw materials, technology and also by increasing economies of scale for participation in chains of regional and global value, said Ms. Mama Keita, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Bureau for East Africa.

Ms Keita was speaking at a webinar organized by ECA in collaboration with the East African Business Council (EABC) to discuss with the East African private sector the implementation of the AfCFTA in Africa from the east.

Online meeting participants exchanged views on how to harness the potential of African markets and how businesses can seize the opportunity to implement and benefit from the AfCFTA agreement .

ECA simulations highlight that AfCFTA is expected to boost East Africa’s manufactured exports, in particular, textiles and clothing exports will grow by 100%, heavy manufacturing by 63%, light manufacturing 61%, processed foods 54% while livestock and meat products 39 percent.

In his presentation, Mr. Rodgers Mukwaya, Head of Economic Affairs at ECA, said that the implementation of the AfCFTA would increase intra-African trade by more than 50 percent. The deal would also increase the continent’s GDP by more than $ 40 billion and its exports by more than $ 55 billion.

A roundtable to discuss the implementation of AfCFTA in East Africa was held between Mr. Denis Karera, Vice-President of the East African Business Council (EABC), Mr. Steven Asiimwe, Uganda Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) Advocacy Director; Mr. Davilyne Busuru, Policy and Regulatory Compliance Analyst for the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

Karera urged EAC partner states to finalize and submit tariff offers under the AfCFTA to enable the EAC bloc to tap the 1.3 billion mainland markets with a gross domestic product of 3 trillion. of dollars.

“The political will to duly implement the agreed commitments of the AfCFTA is a cornerstone to actualize the benefits of the continental agreement,” said Mr. Karera. He further added that protectionism and non-tariff barriers can block the growth of intra-African trade and called for the adoption of the pan-African mindset to advance the AfCFTA agenda.

Panelists agreed that the private sector is the engine of the African economy as it accounts for over 80 percent of total output, two-thirds of total investment and three-quarters of lending within the economy, according to the ECA. The private sector also provides jobs for around 90 percent of the working-age workforce.

The ECA stresses that by making African economies more competitive and by enabling the development and modernization of regional value chains, the AfCFTA promises opportunities for job creation, dynamic growth and economic empowerment for women and men. marginalized groups such as refugees and internally displaced persons.

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