Africa`s Historic Day : January 1, 2021
by PD Lawton 6 January 2021
” We have to take active steps to dismantle the colonial economic model that we inherited and that we sustained over the last 50 years . We have to stop being exporters of primary products to countries of the North. We have got to make sure we establish industrial development capacity on the African continent so that we create jobs on the African continent and so that we completely rely on Africa, self sufficiency in Africa and if anything Covid-19 has demonstrated is that Africa is over reliant on the export of primary commodities, overly reliant on global supply chains. And we know when the global supply chains are disrupted, we know that Africa suffers. We know that when the global commodities markets are subdued we know that Africa suffers. So we have got to take active steps to make sure that Africa`s industrial development is accelerated and this African continental free trade area and the trading that starts today ,are the first steps that we have to take in that direction.” -His Excellency Wamkele Keabetswe Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA
This was the day that the African continent stopped being the raw materials market of the North. This was the day that the vision of the founding fathers of the continent became a reality. The United Africa, the United Economic Union of Sovereign African States was the foundation stone of the Organization of African Unity as envisaged in 1963 by the leadership of Ghana, Egypt, Guinea and Algeria. The industrialization of Africa was the vision, most notably of, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.
Image: Gamal Abdel Nasser with his beloved wife, Tahia and three of their young children, meeting with Kwame Nkrumah in 1965 after forming the Casablanca Group and then the OAU. One year later Nkrumah would be ousted from government in a foreign run coup. Five years later and Nasser would die of a heart attack, despite good health, worked to death by the War of Attrition with Israel.
Today it is Niger and President Mahamadou Issoufou who has been the champion of economic unity under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
” I ask all Africans, young or old , woman or man, to appropriate our common ambition to realize the Africa we want, an Africa unimpaired, unique, prosperous, that properly leads its children, development for one and for all.” President Issoufou of Niger
President Nano Akofu Addo is another Ghanaian great leader and champion of the industrialization of the African economy. In his speech on January 1, he thanked the presidents of the countries who have contributed the greatest efforts for AfCFTA, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Alpha Condé of Guinea, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Image: President of Ghana, Nano Akofu Addo
The African Continental Free Trade Area is the creation of a single continental market. Trading will be duty free and quota free. It will boost inter-African trade and stimulate innovation and investment. It will provide jobs for the youth and encourage African entrepreneurs. It has a protocol on the financial inclusion of women in trade.
“The focus of our trade agreement should be directed to a larger extent on the development and sustaining of small and medium enterprises and not only on well -established big companies.” President Cyril Ramaphosa
The Afrochampions Initiative will encourage big firms in the African private sector which will in turn foster the growth of small and medium enterprise.