Leverage AfCFTA opportunities to liberate youth – Herbert Krapa

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Continental Free Trade Area: Leverage AfCFTA opportunities
Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa

The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa has urged African leaders to leverage on the numerous opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement presents to liberate the youth from the challenges they faced.

He said Africa’s youth whether in Luanda, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Windhoek or Accra, face similar challenges which included: the ack of economic opportunities resulting in joblessness, no access to cheap and long-term credit, information gap as well as lack of infrastructure education.

Mr Krapa who spoke at the 2021 Youth Connekt Summit added that the issue of youth unemployment and joblessness was the greatest threat to security in the African continent and leaders should as a matter of urgency put in measures to address them.

According to him, AfCFTA provides a golden opportunity to overcome these problems and the African youth were smart, daring and innovative to assist governments surmount these challenges, should the government choose to build the capacities of all their young people.

He said 19 of the top 20 countries globally with the youngest population were found in Africa and close to 60% of Africa’s population in 2019 was under the age of 25.

This, he said presented both opportunities and challenges which can be converted using the resources at the disposal of the continent into substantial benefits.

“It is refreshing that the charter that establishes Africa’s Free Arade Area lays emphasis on micro small and medium enterprises, with women and youth at the heart of it”, he added

The Deputy Minister further stated that Africa’s Free Trade Agreement presents a market size of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of $ 3.4 trillion and nothing can be more important than positioning Africa’s youth to take full advantage of this opportunity.

He said governments in Africa should adhere to the 2003 Maputo Declaration which enjoins them to allocate a minimum of 10% of budgetary provision to agriculture because the sector has the potential to lift millions of Africa’s youths out of poverty.

He indicated that the government of Ghana which was led by His Excellency the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had done very well in regard with initiatives such as the Planting for Food and Jobs programme which has so far supported young people in Agriculture with inputs for their farms and the One District One Factory initiative which has also positioned young people as active participants in the global value chain.

“The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme which continues to provide support for start-ups and small businesses. It has since its inception some four years ago, trained over 50,000 entrepreneurs; funded over 10,000 business and created in excess of 100,000 jobs mainly for young people has also played a key role”, he added.

Mr Krapa said the theme was for theme for the summit: “Africa Beyond Aid: Positioning the Youth for The Covid Aftermath and AfCFTA Opportunities”, was most appropriate given that the devastating effect of the pandemic on global economies has left the more vulnerable people most disadvantaged.

He said Covid-19 was taught African valuable lessons include the need to approach the developmental needs of the continent differently adding that there was some hope, as the World Bank’s has projected a 3.3% growth rate for the continent.

 

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