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AFCFTA: A Fresh Chance for Africa’s Youth

At the 18th session of the African Union (AU) in 2012, head of member states initiated the idea for the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The idea was to establish a free trade area within the African continent with a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion collectively to make it the largest-free-trade area in the world.

The main aim of this idea is to boost intra-trade in Africa from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2022. This will help create jobs and boost Africa’s economic status at the world stage.

The AFCFTA Objectives.

The objective of the agreement is;

To create a single market; this will help facilitate the free movement of persons, goods and services, and investments which will help fast-track the creation of African customs union.

To reinforce intra-African trade. This will better harmonize the coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa in general.

To accelerate regional and continental integration procedures, and resolve multiple and overlapping memberships challenges.

The promises of the AFCFTA are not only for large corporations. But equally for the youth who are the leaders of the continent. AfCFTA is being negotiated by governments, but it is not governments that trade, its entrepreneurs, small medium enterprises that are led by young Africans. Under AfCFTA, young people will be able to create 450 million jobs in Africa, contributing over 60per cent to Africa’s GDP. It is the driver of Africa’s economy

That is why the AFCFTA secretariat is very particular about the inclusion of youths into the AfCFTA protocol. AfCFTA presents an opportunity to push back poverty, to advance industrialisation, to create opportunities for young people in Africa. “So that young people stop dying and being buried deep in the oceans of the Mediterranean, as they seek better opportunities in Europe.” said the AFCFTA secretary General, Wamkele Mene speaking at the fifth Youth Connekt Summit. 

With average tariffs of 6.1 percent, businesses currently face higher tariffs when they export within Africa than on the continent. The AfCFTA will progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-Africa trade, making it easier for African businesses to trade within the continent and benefit from the growing African market.

With the agreement firmly in place, Africa now has the tools to place itself as a global superpower; it has the potential to be. But to do so, Africa must use its greatest asset, our youth. Only then will we awaken a sleeping giant.

It is in this light that PLS Training is organizing a conference to increase awareness on the AFCFTA subject, under the theme: AFCFTA: Opportunities, challenges and prospects for Cameroon. The conference is set to take place on the 24th of March 2023 at IUT Douala at 2PM. Stay connected, save the dat and join us for and insightful experience.

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