Here at EBII we’re celebrating Africa Day (May 25) or Africa Week.
For those of you not familiar with Africa Day, it’s the annual celebration of the achievements and potential of the continent which is celebrated across Africa and in countries around the world by the diaspora community.
Africa Day commemorates the founding of the African Union, as it’s known today, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. You may see celebrations span the entire week as Africa Week – no surprise here, as there’s too much to celebrate on just one day!
At the heart of Africa Day is trade, and how the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA) – an ambitious trade pact aimed at creating a single market for goods and services of almost 1.3bn people – can benefit Africans.
This projected $3 trillion borderless market would make Africa the largest free trade area in the world, attracting investment, green finance and creating jobs.
But to really succeed, the trade pact needs political will, better governance, regulatory reforms and more business-friendly environment.
So what is EBII doing? We are launching the African Leaders and Partners Forum – a strategic platform where Africa’s leaders and investors can connect to establish the collaborations and partnerships that will drive African economic development.
Ultimately, the platform will serve as a gateway linking Africa to the world by connecting people, businesses and ideas, whilst ensuring risk management remains a core foundation. The forum builds on our annual Africa Investment Risk and Compliance Summit (AIRCS),
which brings together political and business leaders, academics and regulators to find coordinated solutions to Africa’s investment challenges. Our 2023 AIRCS event is being held in Egypt later this year, with a focus on climate risk and sustainable investments – we’ll update you about this event shortly.
The benefits of global trade are widely contested because the gains have not been fairly distributed around the world. So could the AfCFTA redress that imbalance? The trade pact is not only about goods, it covers vital areas of Africa’s economy such as digital trade and investment protection and aims to break down trade barriers and deepen economic integration of the continent.
Currently, intra-Africa trade languishes at just 14.4% of total African exports – that must change. The trade pact could boost intra-Africa trade by about 33%, according to UNCTAD forecasts and, importantly, could help tackle poverty, inequality and lacklustre growth and put the continent on an inclusive and sustainable growth path.
As a Ghanaian founder living between London and Washington DC, I often hear people talk about Africa as one country. It’s made up of 54 countries, with around 2,000 languages spoken!
But Africa Day is about more than this diverse continent. The Biden-Harris administration is resetting relations between the world’s largest and the world’s youngest nations, as China’s clout on the continent grows.
When I met US Vice President Kamala Harris in Ghana at the start of her maiden Africa trip, we talked about building mutually beneficial partnerships with climate resilience, sustainable investments, African diaspora, digital transformation and female entrepreneurship are at the core – all central to EBII’s mission.
On Africa Day – this is what our bright continent needs and what international investors want from Africa.