Industry Insights

AfCFTA’s success will depend on country collaboration-Expert

In order to facilitate easier payments as the continent seeks free trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat revealed at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM Global 2023) in Abu Dhabi that it is working to adopt digital financial services that offer a variety of payment products.

According to Emily Mburu-Ndoria, Director of the Directorate of Trade in Services, Investment, IPR and Digital Trade at the AfCFTA Secretariat, “We are looking at it in terms of emerging technologies and how we can use these financial assets to trade across Africa” when speaking about the agreement.

She stated that the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a payment system developed by the organization in partnership with Afreximbank, is the focus of the Secretariat’s efforts. PAPSS enables real-time payments between individuals and countries in local currencies.

AfCFTA is a comprehensive agreement that seeks to unify the markets of all African nations. The creation of a single carbon credit system across the continent is one of the projects. According to officials, if Africa had a single carbon price, efficiency would increase since there would be a single investment program.

How can we achieve the unified African market, which is one of our main goals? said Mburu-Ndoria. “With regards to the issue of investment, we have worked to develop a protocol to harmonize the laws and regulations that are significant in the four areas of investment,” the statement continued. She continued by saying that the AfCFTA would have to make sure that the state parties that approved the agreement put it into practice by harmonizing the continent’s legal framework.

Common investment topics covered by the agreement include investor obligations, investment promotion and facilitation, investment protection, and concerns pertaining to sustainable development. Automobiles, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and links through logistics and digitalization are the main investment areas.

“It’s not a lack of blueprints that Africa has not yet structured,” Anontio Pedro, acting executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, said. “Currently, we have a better deposit for those long-term structure adjustments. Industrial policy is better accepted today.” He continued: “One of the major failures is indeed our inability to make these movements into transformational changes on the ground. Today, almost everyone is pursuing one form or another of industrial policy.”