The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) harbors vast potential to skyrocket intra-Africa trade to an impressive $195 billion by 2045, up from its $113 billion record in 2020, as revealed by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
This promising forecast was presented by Brendah Phiri-Mundia, the Principal Regional Advisor of ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, at events in Addis Ababa. The focus? Elevating economic empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit among women, the youth, and MSMEs, aligning with the broader vision of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s SDGs.
Phiri-Mundia is a strong advocate for policies that inclusively promote and expedite trade in Africa. She underscored the pivotal role that women and the youth have already started playing in reshaping the continent’s entrepreneurial landscape. She believes harnessing this momentum is crucial for making the most out of the AfCFTA.
Highlighting women’s accomplishments, Phiri-Mundia pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa leads globally in female entrepreneurship. Yet, the potential remains vast, and tapping into it could further amplify Africa’s economies, potentially adding a whopping $316 billion.
The youth, characterized as beacons of innovation and economic advancement, are also receiving robust support to help transform their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
Acknowledging the hurdles of financing, skill acquisition, and guidance, Phiri-Mundia appreciated collective endeavors to address them. She spotlighted ECA’s dedicated efforts in aiding countries to craft gender-sensitive policies and interventions.
One of the focal areas she emphasized was the necessity for gender-specific data collection, which would empower data-driven policymaking. Through collaborations with organizations like UNCTAD and the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the ECA aims to assess the influence of trade on gender equality with enhanced precision.
Closing her insights, Phiri-Mundia assured the ECA’s continued commitment to strengthen partnerships, ensuring that every female and youth entrepreneur in Africa realizes their aspirations.