AfCFTA Must Be Engineered To Advance Gender Equality In Africa – President ACCI
The President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode has stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) must be engineered to advance gender equality in Africa,as well as bring millions of people out of poverty.
The President who was represented by the DG of the Chamber, Victoria Akai, stated this on Saturday in Abuja at the inauguration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Women Network (AfCFTAWN).
He said governments, and the organized private sector, businesses, civil society and development partners must pursue a ‘business unusual’ approach to ensure that gender equality is advanced using the agreement.
He also noted that the agreement presents a major opportunity for African countries to raise incomes and take millions of people out of extreme poverty.
He stressed that the poverty indices in Africa show that women and the youth in the continent are the most vulnerable.
“To deliver on its transformative potential, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) needs to support the creation of decent jobs, reduce inequalities and promote sustainable, inclusive development. Advancing gender equality is key to achieving these objectives” he said.
“Women and the young will continue to have a significant role in trade in Africa and will be essential to the continent’s success in leveraging the full potential of the AfCFTA. Particularly women entrepreneurs continue to face challenges and obstacles that limit their competitiveness. But women comprise the vast majority of informal cross-border traders in Africa even as they are disproportionately affected by non-tariff barriers (NTBs), including corruption, harassment, misinformation about customs procedures and regulations” he added.
Prince Kayode also noted that the implementation AfCFTA agreement should boost Africa’s trading position in the global market, as well as accelerate Intra-African Trade and strengthen Africa’s voice and policy space in global trade.
He further disclosed that the implementation of the AfCFTA will bring about a major positive disruption in the way Africa does business adding that the implementation of the agreement should improve trade facilitation measures and simplify customs procedures.
“Implementing AfCFTA should also usher opportunity for economic reforms (especially in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa) that are necessary to enhance long-term growth in other African countries” he said.
“Your Excellency the organized private sector in Nigeria, sees AfCFTA as a huge opportunity for industrialization, expanded access to regional markets and for stimulating demand for intra-African production and trade, SMEs growth and funding opportunities mainstreaming this into the regional value chains
“In addition, we are certain, export-oriented industrialisation should enhance development of specialized export processing zones in countries to bring in new opportunities in manufacturing space” he added.
He said the Private sector was excited about unleashing the various value chains opportunities AfCFTA ushers in especially in Agriculture, extractive, renewable energy, construction, ICT, manufacturing and other emerging business and services sector.
“Across all sectors, we expect the AfCFTA to create and expand opportunities for larger intra-African trade and in doing so, promote economic growth , entrepreneurship, and economic opportunities for us all” he added.