The Pan African SMEs Network is conducting a survey on the readiness of Small and Medium Enterprises to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to the Network, its preliminary checks revealed that despite the commencement of trading activities since January 2021 many SMEs are oblivious of the existence of the AfCFTA.
Speaking to the B&FT at the African SMEs Dialogue to commemorate African Integration Day 2021, the Executive Director of Pan African SMEs Network said: “Many SMEs on the continent do not know about AfCFTA; how will they prepare for it. It tells that there is a huge task for sensitisation”.
He added that the survey being carried out online is also to ascertain knowledge of youth, women and SMEs on the AfCFTA. The survey, which is currently ongoing, is expected to end on the 30th of July. Through its strategic partners, the Network hopes to reach over 1 million startups and SMEs on the continent.
The African SMEs Dialogue is a flagship event of the Pan African SMEs Network to create the enabling platform for Small and Medium Scale businesses in Africa to discuss key issues to mitigate youth unemployment on the continent, build capacities of youth and SME entrepreneurs to ensure business sustainability, while providing decent jobs for all – in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8.
The Pan African SMEs Network is a springboard for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Africa, serving as a central hub for relevant information necessary for business operations, as well as providing platforms for capacity building, strategic networking, fostering continental and global trading of goods and services, access to funding and mentors, policy research and advocacy.
The Network currently has strategic partnership with key institutions such as Ghana Start-up Network and the Association of Small Scale Industries, Ghana (both networks of startups and young entrepreneurs in Ghana with over 10,000+ membership), Junior Chamber International-JCI (with membership in 23 African countries), Pan African Youth Union (with membership in 54 countries in Africa), Commonwealth Youth Council (with membership in 19 African countries), Borderless Alliance (with membership in 9 western African countries), and AfriLabs – which is a network of 268 business incubation hubs and accelerators in 49 countries in Africa, with over 1 million community members of small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs.