Panafrican News Agency

Africa’s Free Trade Area, world’s largest, says Expert

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Anne Wambui Gaitha, an International Trade and Investment expert on Wednesday revealed that the newly-launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will have some 55 member states of the African Union on board; “making it the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization”.

This, according to her, is so in terms of numbers of participating countries as the AfCFTA covers a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion.

Anne made the revelation while making a presentation on the topic “supporting trade and investment in Africa” during the African Women’s Conference with the theme: “the Role of the African Woman in promoting inter-regional trade post covid-19 ”; organized virtually by The Cairo-based apex business body, Egyptian African Businessmen Association (EABA).

She said at AU summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a declaration emerged stating that the years “2020 to 2030 would be the new Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion.”

“In this declaration, African leaders recommitted to scale up actions for the progressive gender inclusion towards sustainable development at the national, regional and continental levels,” she recalled.

The expert continues to point out that traditionally most (SMEs) small, medium enterprises are only familiar with getting bank loans as their main source of funding but there are other alternative sources of funding businesses.

Meanwhile, the African Women’s Conference formally kicked off with the opening remarks by Dr. Yousrey Elsharkawy, EABA’s Chairman who welcome the speakers and other participants to the meeting.

It would be recalled that the body also held a conference on “the role of African rapprochement in supporting entrepreneurship projects”, which was virtually attended by EABA members and affliates within Africa and beyond.

-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 2June2021