Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Journalist
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Continental Free Trade Area have teamed up to deliver initiatives aimed at boosting industrial growth and development across the continent.
AfDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said his institution would integrate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) into its national and regional integration strategies.
In a welcoming statement to AfCFTA Secretary General Wamkele Mene in Abidjan last week, Dr Adesina said: “The implementation of the free trade area will become a key part of the lending program of the bank.
“We want to have a critical mass of investments aligned with the AfCFTA. “
Dr Adesina said the bank will support the AfCFTA secretariat in the implementation of its various commercial and industrial initiatives and programs.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Area is an industrial hub.
“The area should become an area of manufacturing, not just commerce,” he said.
Dr Adesina said the bank will work closely with the AfCFTA secretariat to ensure Africa produces at scale.
“We need a large industrial manufacturing area that generates revenue and is competitive locally and globally.”
Mr. Mene said the AfCFTA secretariat will help member states remove trade barriers to boost intra-African trade.
“But we cannot do it without the support of the African Development Bank. We would just be a commercial hub with no real production, ”he said.
Mr. Mene noted that the AfCFTA offers Africa an excellent opportunity to develop the necessary infrastructure to support trade and benefit small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“We want the initiative to unfold as an African initiative supported by our heads of state and our development finance institutions,” he said. – @KazungaOliver