By Saul Molobi

On 3 March 2021, Brandhill Africa (Pty) Ltd and the Growth Diagnostics (in collaboration with the North-West University Business School) hosted a virtual bi-monthly seminar to welcome the launch of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The Programme Director was the affable season entrepreneur and mentor, Lucia Mabunda, Brandhill Africa’s Group Head for Business Development Services.

In welcoming the guests from all over the world, I reminded them of the commitment I made at the inauguration of Brandhill Africa’s flagship project, Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition, held on 9 December 2020 that we were to host bi-monthly virtual seminars as build-up towards this annual conference which takes place every December. The name, Biashara, is adapted from the Kiswahili word which means commerce or trade. It is intended to promote the “Made in Africa” service and product brands.

The delegates were welcomed by Vusi Mabena, the Secretary-General of the Association of Chambers of Mines and Other Mining Associations in Africa (ACMMAA) – a pan African federation of Chambers of Mines in 32 African Union member states. Vusi’s chamber always reminds me to caution entrepreneurs in the continent that a truly pan African business chamber isn’t a body representing individual business people from African countries, but it should be constituted by national business chambers and for that reason that’s in terms of the African Union’s prescripts, once such chamber has a presence in at least 34 AU member states, it then qualifies for an observer seat at its General Assembly.

Francois Fouche, a Director at the Growth Diagnostics (in collaboration with the North-West University Business School), was the keynote speaker whose presentation sought to answer a few pertinent questions such as:

  • What difference will the AfCFTA make?
  • Which import duties have already been reduced?
  • How long will the AfCFTA take to implement?
  • What is likely to have a larger effect on intra-Africa trade; trade /non-tariff reductions?
  • What does all this mean to South african industry?
  • What should astute businesses do during this time?
  • Where are the export opportunities right now for South African exporters.

Francois’ Powerpoint presentation, “African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): What difference will it make?”, could be sent to you after joining the WhatsApp Group, “AfCFTA Network Group”, which was established by the delegates as a networking platform to continue the conversation in-between the bi-monthly virtual seminars. To join the AfCFTA Network Group WhatsApp Group click on the link below:

The virtual seminar video is posted on Brandhill Africa’s YouTube account, click the link below to access it: