9 October 2019
by TOM COLLINS
The AfroChampions Initiative held its second conference on sustainable green growth and industrialisation in Kigali, Rwanda.
The AfroChampions Initiative, a set of public-private partnerships designed to leverage resources and funds to create more multinational corporate champions in Africa, has proposed a $1trn investment framework to support the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 2030.
The presentation was made in Kigali at the AfroChampions second ‘boma’, a Swahili word meaning traditional community gathering.
The forum is designed to encourage lively debate between the private sector, government and civil society.
Though 54 countries have signed the AfCFTA and 28 have ratified it, the world’s largest free trade area since the creation of the World Trade Organization will only create a more prosperous Africa if substantial investments are made into sectors which support intra-African trade.
Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, praised the investment framework, saying:
“We now have a framework that we can put on the table and say this is what we have to put in place to be able to achieve A, B, C and D. We are able to say yes we want to have $1trn in 10 years. We believe that the money is out there but how do we get that money into Africa.”
The outline of the framework was first presented to Obasanjo and other leaders in July at the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit in Niger which convened to mark the official launch of the AfCFTA.
The framework seeks to establish that the multi-sector challenges of implementing the AfCFTA are in fact opportunities for the private sector to invest.
It lists signature mega projects like the Djibouti to Dakar railway and DRC’s Inga Dam project; along with basic shortfalls like Africa’s annual import bill of $35bn.
It also highlights up-and-coming sectors like Africa’s urban food market which will be worth $150bn by 2030.
The framework identifies the core enablers of the AfCFTA as transportation and connectivity; removal of non-tariff barriers; low cost power to industry; and value addition and industrialisation in a modernised digital economy.
By highlighting the opportunities available and implementing monitoring tools, the AfroChampions document hopes to act as a conduit to investment to these key sectors.
“The launch of the trillion dollar investment framework is driven by the private sector,” said Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission.
“With this initiative the private sector is sending a very clear signal that is willing and ready. I would like to challenge all of you to invest and I would like to challenge the African private sector to be in the Fortune 500 by 2030.”