Saturday, September 23, 2023

Africans , let us  get our act together 

In 2018, the African Union launched the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Rwanda with a lot of fanfare as is always the case with these things. For us ordinary people in Africa, the agreement would only be seen as worthwhile if it helps lift millions of people out of poverty. We do not really care about what goes on in the hallowed halls where bureaucrats hash out these trade deals. Instead, we judge the success of these agreements only by their economic impact on ordinary lives. Anything else is moot for us because after all we judge a tree by the fruit it bears. 

And I see that the African Union itself states that the objective of AfCFTA is to “Create a single market for goods, services, facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent and in accordance with the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in Agenda 2063”. No one can argue against the notion of a prosperous and peaceful Africa.  It is also equally true that the movement of persons is essential for trade. Trade in turn, leads to economic growth and prosperity. There is no country whose prosperity was not borne out of commerce and economic growth.  So, if we throttle commerce or trade, we short-change growth and jobs. An enduring state of peace in Africa or any place for that matter, will on the whole also be realised when there is growth and prosperity. Rich countries rarely fight each other.   

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