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Firms must drive Africa's transformation

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By Victor Harison and Mario Pezzini

ADDIS ABABA ― The African Continental Free Trade Area, launched at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government in July 2019, is the largest multilateral trade agreement since the founding of the World Trade Organization.

Comprising one billion people and accounting for over $2 trillion of the continent's GDP, the AfCFTA promises to sustain the dynamism of Africa's markets for years to come.

But if the AfCFTA is to fulfill its promise, African firms will need to prepare for a new, more competitive economic landscape. Between 2000 and 2018, the African market grew by 4.6 percent per year, and domestic demand drove 69 percent of that growth. But now is the time for the continent to reach its full potential with respect to economic development, job creation, and poverty reduction.

With around 22 percent of working-age Africans starting new businesses ― compared to 19 percent in Latin America and 13 percent in Asia ― Africa has the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world.

But African firms will need to improve their organizational, productive, and technological capabilities. To that end, the upcoming second edition of the African Union's flagship economic report, Africa's Development Dynamics, produced in partnership with the OECD Development Centre, offers a three-pronged strategy for both business leaders and policymakers to follow.

First, providing high-quality products and services........

© The Korea Times