Ghanaian News

Support the AfCFTA boldly, Akufo-Addo urges African leaders

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has issued a clarion call to colleague African heads of state to step up and support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement with all the boldness they possibly can.

He made the call as he addressed heads of state and participants in the seventh edition of the African Leadership Forum (ALF) today (25 May 2023) at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra, which is taking place under the theme of “Promoting Intra-African Trade to Unlock Agricultural Potential in Africa”.

President Akufo-Addo said that the ALF, which is organised and managed by the UONGOZI Institute and the AfCFTA Secretariat, comes at a time when the entire continent has “hopefully come to the realisation that no country on the continent can afford to go it alone and that we in Africa are required to hasten the process of continental integration”.

Mohamed Moncef Marzouki (former Tunisian president), Wamkele Mene (AfCFTA Secretariat) and President Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the 7th African Leadership Forum in Accra
President Akufo-Addo (right) exchanges pleasantries with the former president of Tunisia Dr Mohamed Moncef Marzouki at the 7th African Leadership Forum in Accra

“We cannot allow our collective fate to be decided by shocks thousands and thousands of miles away,” President Akufo-Addo argued.

“The time is long overdue for Africa and Africans to define our own narrative,” he said.

Defining Africa’s narrative
The president declared that Africans’ goal of defining the continent’s own narrative cannot be achieved if they do not trade among themselves beyond the current threshold of 3% of global trade.

Nor will they prosper if they do not raise the level of intra-African trade, currently just 13% of the total across the continent.

“The AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation and transformation,” President Akufo-Addo said. “What is required now is for our respective governments and businesses to show bold leadership.”

President Akufo-Addo confers with the former president of Tanzani Jakaya Kikwete at the African Leadership Forum

“We need coherent and complementary strategic actions by governments and businesses, the right mix of policies and strategies for exports, value addition to raw commodities and a greater sense of purpose to ensure a robust intra-Africa to drive agricultural growth, economic diversification and the much-needed industrialisation of the continent,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Huge agriculture budget
The president stressed that “unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential will help mobilise the requisite amount of financing needed to help develop the continent”.

Africa, he said, “needs between US$130 and $170 billion annually to bridge her infrastructural gap and generate sustainable growth of at least 5% per year”.

This huge budget, he said, “presents an exceptional opportunity for private sector investment” in agriculture.

This high-level African Leadership Forum aims to explore the vast opportunities and address obstacles hindering the realisation of Africa’s agricultural potential.

The ALF brings together decision-makers and influential individuals to engage in thoughtful discussion and knowledge-sharing.

The key objectives of the forum are first to “explore Africa’s agricultural potential: delve into the potential opportunities emerging from climate change and how they can be harnessed to drive agricultural development and sustainability”.

Second, it is seeking to “overcome obstacles: share experiences and lessons learned regarding the internal and international obstacles that currently hinder the maximisation of Africa’s agricultural potential. By understanding these challenges, we can collectively work towards effective solutions.”

Third, it is working towards “implementing a one-trade concept”. This involves discussing “the potential and challenges of implementing a unified intra-trade concept in Africa’s agriculture sector”. In so doing, participants in the forum are exploring “how increased collaboration and harmonisation can enhance productivity, efficiency and market access across the continent”.

Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, addresses the 7th African Leadership Forum in Accra

Fourth, it is considering practical requirements. In line with this, it will: “Engage in practical and realistic discussions on the requirements for implementing the one-trade concept in Africa’s agriculture. Address the necessary policies, infrastructure, technology and capacity-building measures needed to facilitate seamless intra-trade.”

Last, it is focusing on “unlocking the AfCFTA: identify priorities, policies and relationships necessary for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”. This will propel the continent to “recognise its transformative potential in promoting agricultural development, regional integration and economic growth”.

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