On this momentous occasion of the sixth annual Africa Integration Day on 7 July, we stand proud and united in commemorating the milestones achieved since the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in 2020. This day, declared by the African Union in 2019, symbolises not only the promise of economic growth and integration but also the collective effort of our nations to forge a more prosperous future for all Africans.

The AfCFTA represents a transformative vision for the continent, aiming to create a single market for goods and services, facilitate the movement of capital and people, and foster industrial development. Since its inception, several pivotal initiatives have been successfully launched, marking significant progress toward achieving these ambitious goals.

One such initiative is the Guided Trade Initiative, which has already shown tangible results in facilitating trade between member states. This initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration and the benefits of reduced trade barriers, which are essential for fostering economic growth and development. By simplifying customs procedures and harmonising regulations, the Guided Trade Initiative is helping businesses expand their reach across borders, driving economic dynamism and regional cohesion.

The introduction of the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) is another landmark achievement. By enabling instant, cross-border payments in local currencies, PAPSS is set to revolutionise intra-African trade, making transactions more efficient and cost-effective. This system not only simplifies trade but also strengthens financial integration across the continent, reducing the dependence on external currencies and fostering economic independence.

Furthermore, the approval of five critical AfCFTA protocols – competition, intellectual property, e-commerce, investment, and the protocol on women and youth – marks a significant stride toward standardisation and harmonisation across Africa. These protocols are designed to establish a conducive environment for business, protect intellectual property rights, enhance digital trade, attract investments, and empower women and youth, who are the backbone of our economies. By creating uniform standards and regulations, these protocols facilitate smoother and more predictable business operations, encouraging both local and international investments.

The competition protocol ensures fair play in the market, preventing monopolistic practices and fostering a healthy business environment. The intellectual property protocol safeguards innovations, encouraging creativity and technological advancements. The e-commerce protocol paves the way for the digital economy, promoting online trade and expanding market access. The investment protocol creates a secure and attractive climate for investors, driving economic growth and job creation. Lastly, the protocol on women and youth emphasises inclusivity, ensuring that economic opportunities are accessible to all, particularly the often underrepresented demographics.

These milestones reflect our collective commitment to creating an integrated, competitive, and sustainable African economy. The AfCFTA is not just about economic agreements; it is about fostering a spirit of unity, resilience, and shared prosperity. It is about building an Africa that is self-reliant and capable of driving its own development agenda.

As we celebrate Africa Integration Day, let us reflect on the progress made and renew our commitment to the journey ahead. The path to full integration may be challenging, but the rewards – economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, and improved standards of living – are well worth the effort. Together, we can build a continent that thrives on cooperation and mutual benefit, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.

Happy Africa Integration Day! Tujenge Afrika Pamoja! Let’s Build Africa Together.

Enjoy your weekend.

Saul Molobi (FCIM)

PUBLISHER: JAMBO AFRICA ONLINE

and

Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
Brandhill Africa™
Tel: +27 11 483 1019
Mobile: +27 83 635 7773

eMailsaul.molobi@brandhillafrica.com

Websitewww.brandhillafrica.com

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