Maiden KAIPTC, AGI Dialogue Series to focus on AfCFTA opportunities, prospects and challenges

Date: 2021-03-30

The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Federal Government of Germany and the Government of Norway, is organizing the maiden edition of the Stakeholder Dialogue Series. Scheduled for March 10, 2021, it will be under the theme, “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Private Sector: Towards Effective Development and Sustainable Peace”. 

This event, which will be held virtually, seeks to foster a strategic partnership between the KAIPTC and the private sector in order to explore opportunities for joint initiatives in the field of governance, peace, security and development. Topics on the table for discussion will include the impact of AfCFTA on the private sector and the overall quest for long-term peace and development.

The dialogue will also provide the opportunity for participants to examine the prospective impact of the AfCFTA on the private sector in Ghana as well as ways to ensure effective dispute resolution and cohesion within states and in the business community towards sustainable peace and development. It will also focus on the opportunities the AfCFTA provides for private sector growth in Ghana as well as the security risks that could threaten the potential success of the AfCFTA.

The event is expected to bring about 80 participants virtually from the Private Sector, CSO’s, Development Partners, Government agencies and regional and international organisations and a limited number of persons playing key roles onsite.  

It is a well-known fact that the lack of economic opportunities has made it easier for extremist groups to recruit young people. Poverty and unemployment have become both the drivers and the consequences of insecurity in Africa. Thus, the successful implementation of the AfCFTA will promote peace by creating economic conditions that bring greater stability to fragile and conflict-affected lands.

This implies that significant progress can be made in the area of peace and security if the current socio-economic situation in many parts of the continent can be reversed. This is a key area where the AfCFTA interfaces with Africa’s security challenges. A prosperous Africa is an answer to the continent's migration crisis and the prime means to enhance continental capacity for robust action against insecurity.

What is (AfCFTA)?

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area that was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. On March 21, 2018, in Kigali, 44 African states signed an agreement to establish the AfCFTA. It came into force on May 30, 2019, after 24 countries ratified it.

The AfCFTA Agreement is considered the largest free trade agreement since the World Trade Organization was created and constitutes a prime example of the continent’s current trend towards economic integration. If all 55 African states ratify the AfCFTA Agreement, it would cover 1.2 billion people with combined economies of over US$2.5 trillion.

The dialogue comes on the back of a successful launch and opening of the AfCFTA trading platform on January 1. The AfCFTA brings to life the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 which was adopted in 2013 as a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over a 50-year period.  The AU’s long-term strategy has been described as an ambitious plan intended to drive Africa’s development agenda. 

As such, the AfCFTA seeks to take forward the continent’s long-standing integration and development agenda with the aim of creating a continental market for goods and services. The AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade exponentially by enabling African states to have access to new market opportunities. In addition, the African Union views the AfCFTA as an important step toward integrating the continent and promoting regional trade. By removing trade barriers and allowing the free movement of goods, services, and people across Africa, the AfCFTA could help increase combined consumer and business spending on the continent to $6.7 trillion by 2030. AfCFTA will support the achievement of Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want” - an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa and contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. AfCFTA could thus become a landmark in Africa’s journey towards peace, prosperity and integration.

 

While there is evidence that AfCFTA has great prospects, there is also a growing concern that the implementation of the free trade arrangement could present potential internal security threats such as smuggling, violent extremism, compounded by uncertainties of electoral cycles, and their significant impact on local and foreign investments. These notwithstanding, the AfCFTA, when fully implemented, will constitute a key response framework to the continent’s structural socio-economic drivers of insecurity. The dialogue series will thus discuss and reflect on the different facets and implications of the implementation of the international trade agreement for the continent.