AfCFTA plans its first business forum for Cape Town in early March

By our News Team | 2023

Among its aims is to create awareness among the African business community of business and investment opportunities in the free trade area.

African businesses and marketers have long harboured hopes that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be the silver bullet that provides borderless and bureaucracy-free access to hundreds of millions of pan-African consumers.

Up until recently, however, AfCFTA has seemed to exist more as a theoretical exercise than on-the-ground reality. But now there are moves afoot to bring the potential benefits closer to fruition.

Export Strategy

AfCFTA aims to create a single continental market with a combined GDP of approximately US$3.4-trillion. Photo credit: Hansueli Krapf via Wikimedia Commons

As part of this process, AfCFTA has organised the first Tujenge Pamoja Africa Business Forum, which is slated for 8-10 March this year in Cape Town, South Africa. In Swahili, ‘Pamoja Tujenge’ means ‘Let’s build together’.

The primary aims of the forum include creating awareness among the African business community of current business and investment opportunities offered in the free trade area, particularly priority value chains.

Similarly, to provide a space for governments, businesses and investors to engage and unlock trade and investment funding.

A number of key industry sectors

The industry sectors that are a key focus include agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transportation and logistics, and digital trade.

“The forum will also focus on advocating for supportive policies and investment for priority AfCFTA value chains,” reads a media statement.

“It aims to have a One Trade House Marketplace [with] announcements, signings, investment pitches, and partner booths for perfect integration.

“Additionally, [the forum will] promote a business-friendly environment for SMEs, women, and youth.”

According to the AfCFTA Secretariat, it “seeks broad participation from Africa’s public and private sectors, as well as strategic investors from focus value chains – including heads of government, private sector leaders, financial institutions, investment promotion agencies, regional economic communities (RECs), business councils, chambers of commerce, leading African women business organisations, multinationals, academia, regional media and AfCFTA partners”.

The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3-billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$3.4-trillion.