AfCFTA Will Soon Become World’s Largest Free Trade Area – Akinwumi Adesina

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Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, has disclosed that Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will soon become the largest globally.

Speaking at the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) in South Africa, Adesina asked investors to begin to benefit from business opportunities in Africa.

The AfDB president noted that investors are not in business if they are not on the African continent, saying owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for inter-regional trade is important.

He said: “Investors know if you’re not in Africa, you’re not in business. They know that with over 50 countries harmonising tariffs, rules and standards, the AfCFTA will soon become the largest free trade area in the world since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation.

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“Basically, Africa’s entire development, trade and investment community is here to explore policy gaps in infrastructure, trade and regional integration.

“The second edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair offers an exceptional platform to negotiate deals and agree on the steps required to promote intra-regional trade and accelerate the operationalisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area will create a market of 1.3 billion people and drive a combined gross domestic product of $3.3 billion. The size of consumer and business expenditures in Africa will rise to $6.7 trillion by 2030.”

Adesina said the trade fair offers the avenue for expansion of networking opportunities, exchanging ideas and obtaining feedback.

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According to him, “Take the example of Eze Ndubuisi from Nigeria. Eze specialises in aerial robotics to mechanise African farm fields to reduce the adverse effects of agrochemicals. He was one of the exhibitors at the 1st edition of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair.

“It didn’t take long before Eze received an invitation from the government of Singapore to open an office in the city state. Today, his company Aerial Industries is revolutionising farming around the globe. That’s how fast it can go.

“The challenges ahead are enormous. But we will bounce back — strongly, boldly, and more united than ever. Together, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

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