Fresh push to rope in youth in AfCFTA


The AfCFTA Secretariat says it will create a conducive environment for youth as it seeks to encourage the constituency to competitively engage in cross-border trade in goods and services in Africa’s single market.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which came into force on January 1,2021 is the biggest trading bloc since the World Trade Organisation with a population of over 1 billion.

AfCFTA Secretariat secretary general Wamkele Mene said the continental organisation was committed to broaden inclusiveness in the implementation of the AfCFTA through interventions that support young Africans, women, and small and medium enterprises.

This will also entail the integration of informal cross-border traders into the formal economy by implementing the simplified trade regime, Mene said.

“In this regard, we are developing a Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade to place women and youth at the centre of the AfCFTA and ensure that women and youth have access and derive the intended benefits from the continental trade arrangements,” he said at the ongoing Afreximbank annual meeetings.

His remarks came a day after Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah said the bank was tipping African youth to anchor economic revival the same way their counterpart did during the industrial revolution.

“… the good news is that Africa finds itself at the exact same spot as the US and Canada in the 1900s and Developing Asia in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Today 85% of the continent’s population is under 45, and 45% are between 15 and 45 years old,” Oramah said.

“This asset in our hands is perhaps the greatest resource, an asset much more valuable than all the oil and mineral resources.”

The African youth have been forgotten with thousands dying every year in the Mediterranean as they seek greener pastures in Europe.

The 2022 Afreximbank annual meetings end on June 18.

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