The second edition of the State of AfCFTA Trading Summit, an initiative of the AfCFTA Policy Network (APN) in association with AfCFTA Secretariat, will take off today, July 29, 2022 at the R.S Amegashie Hall – University of Ghana Business School (UGBS).
The summit is expected to be in four sessions around the theme: ‘The Role of: The Youth in Trade and AfCFTA, Security and AfCFTA, Commodity Trading and AfCFTA, and Automotive Industry and AfCFTA.”
The annual event reviews progress made since the establishment of the AfCFTA, with particular emphasis on advancements within the past 12 months.
“This year’s State of AfCFTA Trading Summit will look at the role of the youth, commodity trading, the automotive industry and security concerns which are all areas that are currently in the trends”, Louis Yaw Afful – Summit Host and Executive Director of APN, said about his outfit’s upcoming event.
“Through monitoring and evaluation, we will know how far our stakeholders, whom we always aim to bring together, have benefitted from the AfCFTA since its inception. We have put our focus on the younger population in trade, and this comes at a time when the secretariat is preparing a protocol on youth and women. Another thematic area we will be looking at is the different aspects of security threats, considering, for example, a number of sub-regional instabilities we are currently witnessing which are also barriers to trade”, Mr. Afful added.
Last year’s summit was well attended by relevant stakeholders, and the trend is not expected to change during this edition.
Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, H.E Wamkele Mene, will be the Keynote Speaker. The panel will also include Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan Kyerematen; Yofi Grant, CEO of GIPC; Professor Godfred Bokpin, Dean of Students at the University of Ghana; Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command Staff College; international communicator and entrepreneur, Precious Nyarambi; and many other distinguished personalities. Angola’s Ambassador to Ghana, Joao Domingos Quiosa, will be the special guest of honour.
“We need an independent advocacy to also weigh in pushing the implementation plan of the AfCFTA; AfCFTA currently is experiencing delays in being rolled out, which is of concern to the operation of time-bound businesses and trade. Nonetheless, we appreciate that there are external factors accounting for this”, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke, who will be a Guest Speaker at the summit, said while reviewing the programme so far.
Commenting on his expectations of the event, he added: “We have to make sure that there are other stakeholders, independent opinions and voices pushing for the success of the AfCFTA. Where there are concerns such as the roll out of the Customs Harmonisation Code, Certificate of Origin-related issues, and other barriers to trade, we hope they would be quickly harmonised for trade to begin in earnest, in addition to the speeding up of the implementation.”
Uche Ugboh, Treasurer of Titan Trust Bank, is of the view that the summit provides Africa the opportunity to put heads together on how best to move the issues of the continent forward.
“I personally believe that the problems of the continent can be solved collectively by its own people, regardless of how best the world tries to get involved. We need to tackle our issues individually, and more importantly collectively, since we have a lot going for us such as demography and the market”, Mr. Ugboh said.
“My expectations are that we first need to provide opportunities for the youth by helping them understand the need of the AfCFTA. Secondly, this summit provides a great avenue to share our minds on the various jurisdictions on the continent around security, commodity trading and so on. I hope everyone who attends will leave the event better, empowered and ultimately Africa will benefit in all of these”, he added.
There have been calls for governments on the continent to take the role of the youth in trade very seriously to the extent of a national security issue. This is why agencies need to work in tandem with the public-private sector to create jobs.
As the world’s largest free trade area, the AfCFTA is a flagship project of the African Union’s agenda 2063 – a long-term development strategy geared toward transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.
Africa has the youngest population in the world, according to a recent UN report, presenting enormous opportunities of growth in trade and entrepreneurship in this digital era. Threats to continental peace and security can, however, impede efforts in achieving progress.
To avoid going in that trajectory, the AfCFTA Policy Network (APN) functions as an international non-governmental organisation which provides information, enforces communications, and ensures governance network representation of the Area’s Agreement within Ghana and the Diaspora.