African governments and business leaders have made a pledge with a sense of urgency to ensure value addition to raw materials and natural resources for successful intra-continental trade.
This commitment was made at the end of the second edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues in Aburi in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The event ended with the adoption of thirteen strategic policy (Peduase Compact), to be presented by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to the African Union (AU) for ratification and implementation for AfCFTA’s success.
“Just like I did last year, I intend, with the support of my colleagues, to present the Peduase Compact to the 37th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of States in Addis Ababa in three weeks’ time,” said, President Akufo-Addo.
“There are items in this compact which I believe can be quickly implemented if we’re able to mobilise the needed political will, such as achieving interoperability across Africa,” he said.
The President called on the private sector and governments to “work together with a sense of urgency to implement AfCFTA for the continent’s prosperity,” and pledged Ghana’s resolve to make visa free for all African countries by the end of his tenure in office.
“Trade between African regions is highly concentrated around primary minerals,” Mr Mohammed Irfaan Ali, Guyana, noted, all called for concerted effort to correct it.
“The opportunities are there for a massive increase, but we have to fix the trade barriers, transport and logistics and the rules among ourselves that will stimulate trade among ourselves,” he said.
Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, AfCFTA Secretariat, pledged to provide the needed support to member-States of the AU who have ratified the free trade agreement.
He also said the Secretariat would continue to work closely with governments and the private sector to make available attractive and affordable trade finance for the effective implementation of the AfCFTA.
“It is not enough for each to play their part independently; we need a concerted effort, sharing expertise and capabilities, among others, to achieve our collective goals,” Mr Mene said.
He stated that the Africa Prosperity Dialogues had become a valued platform for African perspectives, facilitating open discussions about the continent’s challenges and opportunities.
It was, therefore, important for governments and businesses to persistently work towards aligning national policies with the objectives of the AfCFTA.
“This involves the harmonisation of customs procedures, trade regulations, and product standards across member countries, necessitating ongoing dialogue, negotiation, and compromise,” he said.
From the private sector, Mr Ebenezer Asante, Senior Vice President, MTN Group, called for an end to “tyranny of sovereignty” through increased effort for a seamless cross border trade, adopting and investing hugely in technology.
“Technology continues to transform the way we trade, and we must leverage the immense opportunities it presents to trade within our borders,” Mr Asante said.
Multilateral and Development Banks, Regional Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks, and other financiers also committed to supporting the private sector with the needed finance for value addition and enhance intra-trade.
Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Founder and Executive Chairman, Africa Prosperity Network, encouraged the private sector to own the implementation of stating that the AfCFTA would not be delivered by the politicians.
“They have given us the roadmap. It is for the business leaders of this continent to work together, think together, and deliver together to achieve prosperity for the continent,” Mr Otchere-Darko said.
The 2024 edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues was held on the theme: “Produce, add value, and trade,” with an overarching focus to have concrete measures for a successful intra-Africa trade and prosperity for Africans.