The potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was the theme of Africa’s Industrialization Day, celebrated on Wednesday (20). In a message, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the agreement “will drive regional economic transformation and sustainable development.”
For him, the continent is growing more than the world average but needs to grow even more. “Industrial development is of critical importance for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in African countries”, reveals.
Guterres also said the manufacturing sector is growing faster on the continent than the world average, but that the pace of growth “needs to get even faster.”
António Guterres also urges countries to “take a complete approach to their industrial policy.” According to him, partnerships and industrialization strategies that create economic opportunities and take into account climate change should be used.
In 2016, the General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring the period between 2016 and 2025 as the Third Industrial Decade for Africa.
Guterres says the United Nations remains committed to helping with these efforts. The continent has the support of the organization to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2063 Agenda of the African Union.
AfCFA: Opportunity for Growth
Signed by 44 member countries, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFA) has created a market of over US$ 3 trillion and a consumer base of over 1.3 billion people. The treaty is expected to double the continent’s manufacturing sector by 2025.
Currently, trade between African countries represents only 15% of total goods traded in the region. This compares with about 47% among countries in the Americas, 61% in Asia and 67% in Europe, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
Unctad predicts that if the new agreement is fully implemented, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most African countries could increase by 1 to 3 percent.