EABC in Action at the African Business Forum and AU Heads of State Summit



The 32nd Ordinary Summit of AU Heads of State and Government  decided among others, to hold an Extraordinary Summit on 07 July 2019 in Niamey, Niger, to commemorate  the launch  of the operational  phase of the African  Continental  Free Trade Area  (AfCFTA). This will be a historic moment for the entire continent.

In  order  to  involve  the  business  community   in  this  great  commemoration,   an AfCFTA  Business  Forum  was held on 06 July 2019  on the margins of the Extraordinary  Summit,  under the theme "Positioning  Business to Operate to Scale in the AfCFTA  Market." The AfCFTA Business Forum 2019 built on the success of the AfCFTA  Business Forum 2018 held in Kigali, Rwanda, in March  2018.  Approximately   200 delegates participated in the  Business Forum which was officially opened by the President of Niger.

The objective of the 2019 AfCFTA  Business  Forum was to bring together African  Heads of State  and  Government,  African  Business  Leaders,   Business  Member  Organizations (BMOs)  and African  Policy Makers to discuss  and reflect on potential strategies  for the successful  implementation  of the AfCFTA,   leading to the  realization  of Africa's aspirations  as enunciated  in Agenda  2063:  The Africa  We Want. The expected  output from the Business Forum included increased  private sector awareness of the AfCFTA and sharing of information on how the AfCFTA will benefit the private sector in Africa.
There   were discussions   on how the   private   sector   can  contribute   to  the operationalization  and implementation  of the AfCFTA Agreement.
EABC delegation comprised; CEO Hon. Peter Mathuki, EABC Board Director Mr. Jim Kabeho and EABC Manager Policy and Standards, Mr. Lamech Wesonga

Key recommendations from the meeting relevant to EABC and private sector

1. Need to address the elimination of Non Tariff Barriers within the context of the AfCFTA
2. Need to promote value chains, local content for AfCFTA to realize its objectives
3. Need to for a well structured continental private sector body formed by recognized umbrella private sector bodies within the Regional Economic Communities.
4. EABC offers to host the Africa Business Council Secretariat
5. Single currency in Africa is a key pre-requisite to achieving the objectives of the AfCFTA
6. Meaningful trade cannot occur without trade financing
7. SMEs to play a critical part in the realization of the objectives of the AfCFTA


EABC will follow up with the AU Commission in Addis Ababa on the formation of the African Business Council and organize meetings with other RECs’ private sector bodies on the formation of the African Business Council.