Hon. Cuthbert Ncube at the 3rd  annual Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition – organised by Brandhill Africa™ on 14 December 2022 in Johannesburg – explains the urgency in  full and timing implementation of the AfCFTA initiatives for the betterment of the continent. 

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) in 2021, which by the way, if well-coordinated and synchronized by all 55 member states is the largest free trade area on earth, encompassing all African countries in our mother continent.

All member states combined, on taking advantage for our GDP, the aim is to creating a single market for goods and services, and by the way, if well appreciated and totally implemented, it will increase our continental trade and thereby lower trade costs across the region, and fundamentally, we need to see a more cohesive and streamlined entrance border procedures.

Dear friends, the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Initiative will surely help the continent increase its resiliency in the face of future economic shocks. 

If sustained, it will usher in the advent of deep reforms that are so necessary to enhance long-term economic growth. 

*** The delegates with the Convener, Saul Molobi, the Group CEO & Chairman, Brandhill Africa in hat at the event ***

Taking a full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area would create a massive opportunities for member states in boosting economic growth, reducing poverty and broadening economic inclusion.

We need to move with speed in creating a single continent where market for goods and services, business and investment would surely reshape African countries and where the implementation would be a huge step forward for Africa. 

We need to demonstrate to the world that we can do it and proudly compete within the global trade spaces. 

As the global economy is in turmoil due to the pandemic, creation of the vast regional market is a major opportunity in helping African countries diversify our exports, accelerate growth, and attract a wider audience, thereby attracting foreign direct investment.

Notably, some of the challenges that derail the progress of this great dream and wonderful initiatives include poor infrastructure in terms of bad roads, the missing railway linking, regulatory barriers, surging fuel prices and import bills, straining the external and fiscal balances of commodity importing countries.

Fears of significant tariff revenue losses and uneven distribution of benefits are among the main obstacles militating against the integration of Africa, hence the snail pace of implementing the afri -univisa let alone the African Union passport that has been on the agenda for so long.

Greed and selfishness are drawing some of the great agenda items few steps backward.

*** The President of African Tourism Board, Hon. Cuthbert Ncube exchanging pleasantry with a delegate, Mr Frank Horley, after his speech at the event ***

Can we imagine a unified and one indivisible Africa, all 55 member states with one objective of creating a sound, sustainable and well integrated continent with an affirmation for a progressive single market approach for our combined Gross Domestic Prroducts valued at over 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars.

Colleagues, this approach will have the potential to alleviate more than 30 million of our people out of extreme poverty and to achieve the full potential, we need to put in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures that should be a well informed and an all encompassing by all parties involved, deepening new methods and opportunities that we have in Africa. 

We also need to strengthen and equip ourselves with mechanisms to collectively brand market Africa’s diverse opportunities and hasten in appreciation of the continental free trade initiatives.

Before us stands a rare opportunity which should be our lifeblood, deepened in our devotion, hard work and open mindedness as participants and not spectators.

We need to form a strong inclusive brand marketing strategies of Africa’s goods and services and adopt rare cross pollination progressive ideas, standards and operational dynamic approaches that will entrench our sustainable economies aiming to creating economic advantages and growth in our lovely continent.

On the last note, public/private collaboration is also imperative, so fundamental at this time where the continent is yearning for sober minded champions of industries to bringing a more cohesive and well synchronized drive in order to mechanising the African agenda.