The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement promises to be a game-changer for the continent’s economic and employment creation prospects, but its success and legacy will depend on across-the-board participation by the continent’s youth, said Dr Misheck Mutize.
Dr Mutize was speaking at the third session of the recent youth-centred Africa Day Symposium hosted by the African Union, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in collaboration with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance. Mutize is an APRM credit rating agency expert.
AfCFTA was created in 2018 and began trade in January 2021. Its headquarters are in Accra, Ghana, with Wamkele Mene serving as the first secretary-general. It is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, which is described as a “continental policy roadmap for inclusive, integrated growth and sustainable development in Africa”.
AfCFTA has a sizeable reach of 1.3 billion people in 55 participating countries, said Mutize. It represents a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion and could be the catalyst to delivering 30 million Africans from extreme poverty. And, according to the World Bank, implementing the AfCFTA agreement could also help usher in the “deep reforms” the continent requires for long-term growth.
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