Africa investor briefs World Trade Organisation on its African Continental Free Trade Area initiatives

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During the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of African investor (Ai) and the Chairman of the African Union Development Agency Continental Business Network (CBN), addressed the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum Session. He discussed building resilience through strengthened regional integration and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation.

This high-level WTO session highlighted the importance of regional integration in building Africa’s resilience to global economic shocks. In his address, Danso briefed WTO delegations on three key investor-led initiatives:

The first initiative was the Regulations as a Stimulus initiative (RaaS). This was launched at the 76th UN General Assembly in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the AfCFTA Secretariat.

RaaS is an instrument to help Heads of State strategically facilitate intra-African trade in lieu of the monetary stimulus that governments have struggled to implement or sustain during the COVID-19 pandemic. RaaS can have a substantial impact on the African economy.

Danso briefed delegates that, with the immediate implementation of RaaS, intra-African trade could be boosted by $7.2bn per annum over the next five years and could add $500 billion to business revenue. Additionally, it could create over 260,000 more jobs by 2025 – if transformative action is taken in five key areas: access to finance, business environment, infrastructure, before the border charges (export, import documents and procedures), and at the border costs. RaaS will facilitate inclusion and tackle inequality, since sectors where women are predominant, such as food, soft commodities, and textiles are projected for an 18 per cent uplift.

The second initiative delegates were briefed on, was The ICC-AfricaPLC Digitise 5 Million SMEs Campaign. This partnership between Ai and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) sees them working with pan-African and global businesses, investors, and Chambers of Commerce to roll out the initiative through as its eTrade and FinTech platform.

The ICC-AfricaPLC Digitise 5 Million SMEs Campaign consists of four main pillars. The first is the company directory. Secondly, it provides trade facilitation policy initiatives. From there, the campaign delivers partner eTrade ecosystem mobilisation programmes. Finally, it sees the establishment of eTrade capacity-building and dialogue events with and for SMEs and partners.

 The third initiative was on Trade Related Infrastructure Investment and the AUDA-CBN 5% Investment Agenda. This is a key AUDA-NEPAD, CBN, and African Sovereign Wealth Fund and Pension Fund leaders Forum initiative, designed for the continent’s post-pandemic infrastructure investment recovery programme. Danso briefed delegates on three ongoing AfCFTA supportive institutional investor initiatives:

  1. A new AfCFTA Supportive Partnership Model. This sees African and global institutional investors potentially achieve competitive risk-adjusted returns on the back of transactions structured by African Trade Banks, and guaranteed by Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) such as the ECA Backed Loan schemes.
  2. Ongoing work with the new African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AfGIIB) initiative. This initiative has a priority focus to support green AfCFTA supply chains. In this respect, AfGIIB will assist private companies, especially SMEs, in greening their supply chains across Africa, through corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) and export credit solutions.
  3. CBN engagements. These will be run in conjunction with global pension and sovereign wealth funds on AfCFTA supportive strategies and is designed to work with their international portfolio companies, as part of their ESG and SDG 17 commitments, to increase Africa’s integration and share of their global value chains.

In his closing remarks, Danso said Ai is looking forward to continuing its important work with the African Union, AfCFTA Secretariat, WTO, and all public and private stakeholders, to increase the AfCFTA’s global competitiveness. This will be done through the creation of modern, digital trade corridors, powered by ‘supply chains of the future’ and driven by forward-looking regulation and eTrade marketplaces that enfranchise African SMEs.

Watch the session video HERE

For more information contact: Wendy Edwards:

About Africa investor (Ai)

Africa investor (Ai) is an investment holding platform that aligns its client base of sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, family offices, and long-term investors with vetted infrastructure, private equity, and technology investment opportunities in Africa. Ai was founded in 2002 to facilitate investments across Africa and do one thing: be the Pan African specialist advisory service to assist and advise African project developers access international capital and provide foreign investment and transaction advisory services to African governments, the private sector, and global investors. This remains our singular purpose today, underpinned by deep fundamental research, the pursuit of investment insights and continuous innovation, facilitated by over 70 years’ industry experience working across every market on the African content.

The Ai Group provides secure, easy to use transaction platforms and investment advisory services, strategic research, investment indices, and investment communication services to support its clients’ investment programmes in Africa. Africa investor advises clients from around the globe, acting as a principal investor in strategic assets on the continent through Ai Capital.

Ai also benefits from specialist insights and the operational experience of the Ai Advisory Board and Ai Academy Leaders Forums, on Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds, Family Offices, Infrastructure Project Development, and Emerging Investment Managers.


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