The Pan African Manufacturers Association, PAMA, is repositioning itself to take advantages provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, which has set out to create a market of over 1.3 billion people and is reportedly the largest single market in the world with a GDP of over $2.6 trillion.
President of the PAMA, Otunba Francis Meshioye, while speaking at the occasion of lighting the Pan African Trade Torch for implementation of AfCFTA, in Lagos on Tuesday, applauded the African Union, the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Africa Business Council for the progress made since the commencement of the AfCFTA.
Most gratifying he noted is the sustenance of Lighting the Africa Trade Torch, which he described as a demonstration of PAMA’s commitment to the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Meshioye, said PAMA sees the event as an emphatic affirmation of the critical role of the Private Sector in transforming Trade in Africa and affirm the commitment of it’s members to the seamless operationalization of AfCFTA.
According to him, It is estimated that AFCFTA will boost Africa’s export by more than 600 billion USD with wage gain of more than 10 per cent, presents a unique opportunity for increased production capacities and trade volume, and above all is a catalyst for significant reduction in poverty. It offers opportunities for ramping up production, upscaling trade volume and creating enduring wealth for the continent.
Speaking further, he said, “PAMA, sees the “Single Liberalized Market for Free Trade in Goods and Services”, which AfCFTA offers, as a lifetime opportunity for African countries to trade more with each other, refocus national economic, investment and industrial policies to be in sync with continental aspirations to enhance private sector development, grow national economies, increase the number of African multinational companies and fastrack the process of fully integrating the continent into the global market.
All these opportunities, he went to to say, are for the taking if competitiveness of private businesses is enhanced adding, “We cannot afford to allow this monumental opportunity to liberate Africa economically, slip from our hands. In reality, the benefits and opportunities that AfCFTA offers are not without challenges and hurdles that will necessitate tough decisions and measures.”
He expressed confidence that with concerted efforts of all stakeholders and overwhelming support of all private sector operators in Africa, these hurdles are surmountable.
“In my role as President of the PAMA, I have the privilege of engaging manufacturers association of African Countries, comprised of thriving manufacturing firms, businesses, SMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs across the continent. I affirm that expectations are high and efforts are in top gear to expand our countries export market frontiers and promote cross border trade in Africa. The common threads that I have observed on the front burner of conversations among our members include the hope that AfCFTA will transform Africa to a prosperous continent, the desire to be competitive and readiness to trade in a rule-based environment.” Meshioye added.
He projected that the body would move beyond the completion of negotiations on schedule of tariff offers, finalization of work on the Rules of Origin and fully operationalize the Pan African Payment Platform. “We should speedily resolve all outstanding issues that are germane to the effective implementation of AfCFTA. As we light the Africa Trade Torch on implementation of AfCFTA today, we must all resolve to keep this monumental light on in our minds. We should ensure that we all continue to support the African Union and the AfCFTA Secretariat in the quest to evolve strategic approaches that will ensure that trading in the AfCFTA corridor stimulate inclusive development in Africa”. he said.
This he said would be pursued through, Strategic framework that will facilitate inflow of investment into the Continent, Inclusion of women, youth, innovation and technology development in the AfCFTA implementation roadmap, Addressing macroeconomic environment, poor competitiveness and dearth of trade facilitation infrastructure prevailing in many African countries and Ensuring the upscaling of trade in manufactured goods through improved industrial capacity.
Others include, Deliberate development of industrial inputs to reduce the intensity of reliance on the global supply chain, Intentionally bringing down all the historical physical borders in Africa, facilitating peaceful co-existence and security of lives and property and Effective support for all Organized Private Sector Organizations in Africa and strengthening of the Private Sector Directorate in the structure of the AfCFTA Secretariat
He affirmed that PAMA has centralized the objective of industrializing Africa; strengthening its members capacities across Africa; encouraging creation of value chain development cross border and in partnership with each other, and quite importantly, ensuring good quality and standards of our products in order to be competitive, both within and outside the continent
Meshioye, also assured that PAMA will continue to monitor unfolding events around AfCFTA with great optimism and will embark on capacity building for business promoters and partner with Governments as well as other stakeholders at the national, regional and continental levels to ensure gainful participation in the Continental trade.