Africa Celebrates its First “Integration Day”
By Mekki ELMOGRABI
A year ago, in Niamey, Niger, AU Summit launched AfCFTA and designated the 7th of July as “Africa Integration Day”. From July 2019 AfCFTA became the top trend of debate and discussions in African business and political arenas till the outbreak of covid19. The pandemic changed all topics and issues all around the world not only in the continent.
Within a very short time and under the newly elected Secretary-General of AfCFTA Mr. Wamkele Mene, Africa took the lead again by designing policies of prioritizing goods and items that classified as urgent needs should face no complicated procedures or closed borders even during the total shutdown time. In an online interview with Atlantic Council in Washington DC, Mr. Wamkele highlighted several categories of work AfCFTA was able to do during covid19 time.
Experts have explained how the pandemic increases the e-commerce and e-services within African cities and local markets when people are not able to go for ordinary shopping. Sales and marketing online offers have witnessed a big boom. African local SMEs started to hire technical assistants to help them reach their clients and customers. Although the total size of African trade and industries decreased during the pandemic, e-commerce has proven again it is highly recommended for the survival of trade and industry in Africa. Read the article “Ae-Trade Group and its Partnerships making an impact in Africa”.
The commemoration of the first edition of Africa Integration Day (AID) will attract 1000 participants from different sectors and categories.
Business and industry leaders, African private sector groups and associations, African representatives and lawmakers from AfCFTA state parties, AU member states, RECs, Think Tanks, among others, will participate in the commemoration event that will include the Launch of competition on Africa Future Scenarios; “Africa Future Scenarios Challenge” and “Future of Africa Creative Arts Challenge”
The partners of the event along with AU are UNECA, AfDB, Afreximbank, PACCI among others.
Partners and participants will celebrate AfCFTA and its achievements. AfCFTA became the AU powerful arm for increasing trade and investment, creating job opportunities for millions of Africans by offering alternatives to young African entrepreneurs.
Africa Integration Day: During the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019, the 12th Extraordinary Summit of AU Heads of States and Government decided that 7 July of each year be designated as “the Africa Integration Day” without it being a holiday to commemorate the operationalization of the AfCFTA Agreement and popularise economic integration across the Continent as a lever of inclusive sustainable development. The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Summit of AU Heads of States and Government held on 9 and 10 February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adopted the guidelines for the commemoration of Africa Integration by Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora. (from AfCFTA concept note on AID)