AfCFTA Will Industrialize Africa - Kunle Elebute

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Monday, January 14, 2019 / 4:20 PM / Nifemi Taiyese for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

 

The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), if well implemented, has the potential of Industrializing the continent.

 

Mr. Kunle Elebute, Senior Partner KPMG Nigeria and Chairman of KPMG Africa, made the statement at the closing ceremony of the 5th Africa Academy of Management Conference in Lagos.

 

Speaking on the topic "The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement," Elebute believed the Trade Agreement provided an opportunity for Africa to compete at the global level as a critical market with over 1.2bn consumers.

 

He described the AFCFTA as a platform for removing the trade barriers and tariff structures that inhibit the growth of Intra-African trade.

 

The KPMG Africa Chairman listed the following as features of the AFCFTA;

 

  • Progressive elimination of tariffs on intra-African trade.

  •  Enhanced efficiency of customs procedures.

  • Uninhibited movement of persons, residence and business establishment.

  • Removal of visa requirements.

  • Mutual recognition of academic, professional and technical qualifications.

  • Creating a single rule book for trade and investment in Africa.

He noted that the AfCFTA treaty negotiations started in 2013, noting that it took three years to agree and another three years for most countries to sign.

 

On the impact of the continental free trade agreement, Elebute listed the following areas of advantage;


  • Improved Ease of Doing Business across the continent

  • Enhance Africa's Investment profile( foreign investors see Africa as a single market)

  • Opportunities for knowledge and technology transfer

  • Improved mobility of talent across the continent

  • Infrastructure: Rail, Shipping lines etc

Elebute informed the delegates that the AfCFTA would leverage on the sub-regional economic clusters in Africa such as the South Africa Development Community (SADEC), East African Community (EAC), and Economic Community for West African States, ECOWAS to deepen trade and growth in Africa.

 

For the benefits he highlighted the following as the key areas of value that Africa should derive from the AfCFTA, which include;


  • A rules-based multilateral trading system for Africa.

  • Establishing a fair and impartial dispute resolution mechanism.

  • Stimulating  Africa's industrial development and employment creation.

  • Contributing to a positive investor climate in Africa.


"AfCFTA will benefit prepared countries, countries that are unprepared should do what is right and get prepared, one of the key things they may have to do is ensure they make changes to their internal regulatory framework to align with AfCFTA principles," Elebute said.

 

He encouraged businesses to take advantage of this opportunity that provides a bigger market with new opportunities, partnerships and distribution networks.


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