Industry Insights

Enhancing Intra-African Trade and Sustainable Agriculture: Resolutions from the 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum

The 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum, held in Nairobi, Kenya, called upon African Union (AU) member states to embrace policies fostering intra-African trade in food production. A primary focus was on removing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), which currently render imports from outside the continent more expensive than locally produced food.

To boost food security and agricultural productivity, member states were urged to invest in irrigation agriculture and move away from excessive reliance on rain-fed practices. Encouraging the participation of the youth in agriculture was another key resolution to ensure increased production and reduce food insecurity.

Addressing the urgency of climate change, the forum advocated for the adoption of resilient food systems that employ technologies to mitigate post-harvest losses. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) were highly recommended to facilitate sustainable financing and management of agro-industrial parks and regional value chains.

Aligning agribusiness priorities with existing declarations and development programs such as the Malabo and Maputo declarations and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was deemed crucial for coordinated progress.

Investments in transportation and logistics were seen as pivotal to scaling up agribusinesses and ensuring food security across the continent.

Reliable and affordable energy supplies were identified as crucial for economic growth. The forum encouraged AU member states to mobilize additional financing for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and to upgrade energy infrastructure while removing barriers for private investors in the energy sector.

Digital trade was acknowledged as a significant driver of economic growth. Thus, AU member states were called upon to develop electronic payments and settlement systems, harmonize user fees on mobile money payments, and promote digital literacy and business networks.

To boost the textile and apparel industry, innovation centers were recommended in the five African regions, aimed at promoting African fashion based on common cultural identity. Policies to ban the importation of second-hand clothes were also suggested to support the development of the value chain and local industries.

Overall, the forum stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, the private sector, and the AU Commission to achieve sustainable economic growth, enhance trade, and develop African industries. By adopting these resolutions, African nations can pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.