Commissioner Acyl articulates the dire need for Africa’s structural transformation in line with the Agenda 2063

By African Union Commission (AUC)

The Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC) had a press briefing today on the margins of the 26th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government, under the theme: “The African Union's Trade and Industry Agenda as a catalyst for Africa's Development”.

H.E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl highlighted the Department of Trade and Industry's initiatives within the context of the Agenda 2063 and expressed the urgent need for Africa to industrialize.

According to the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Africa faces an imperative for structural transformation. H.E. Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl observed that we need to address the paradox of a rich continent with poor citizens. Therefore urgent steps must be taken to create sustainable jobs that will improve the well-being of the people of Africa, especially women and youth.

The Commissioner for Trade and Industry also pointed out that African Union's trade and Industry agenda is looking to support the continent's structural transformation agenda, in line with Agenda 2063 and underscored that the fall of the commodities prices have reinforced the imperative of diversifying away from commodities based economies. “I want to highlight two critical initiatives that are central to ensuring that the AU's trade and Industry agenda will play a catalytic role in the continent's transformation agenda. These are initiatives related to the Africa Mining Vision as well as the Boosting Intra African Trade and fast tracking the Continental Free Trade Area”, she said. Commissioner Acyl mentioned that the Africa Mining Vision provides a framework for providing technical assistance currently provided through the 5 year African Minerals Development Center (AMDC) project involving AUC, UNECA, AfDB, UNDP and other partners in a manner that ensures ownership by African governments of these interventions.

The Commissioner also announced the AUC has been mandated to develop a Continental Commodities Strategy that will address the issues of commodity pricing and commodity based industrialization more broadly, building on the experiences of the past decades. “The strategy reviews the state of play of agriculture, mining and energy commodities in Africa and identifies and articulates areas of national, regional and continental policy and will be finalized this year”, she echoed.

With regards to the Boosting Intra-African Trade and the negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), Commissioner Acyl indicated that the establishment of the CFTA, will create a single market for goods and services in Africa for over a billion people and a GDP of over 3 trillion dollars provides a good reason to invest and partner in Africa. The CFTA, she said, could increase intra-African trade by as much as $35 billion per year, or 52 percent above the baseline, by 2022 especially with the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. She thanked Member States and development partners for their technical and financial support during the preparatory phase and indicated that all efforts have been made to facilitate negotiations for 54 countries. She concluded by announcing that the first negotiating session of the CFTA negotiations will take place in February in Addis Abba, Ethiopia.