EMPOWERING AFRICA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH: AN OUTLOOK ON TRADE AND INVESTMENTS.
With the new era of trade and investment, Africa is gearing up with a focus on collaborations, creativity, and the digital economy.
WTC Abuja, as well as WTC Cairo and WTC Addis Ababa, represented the World Trade Centers (WTCs) in Africa to highlight the trade prospects and challenges facing Africa, focusing on Egypt, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
Robin van Puyenbroeck, Executive Director – Business Development at the World Trade Centers Association, who spearheaded this research, says it is possible to make a positive change in Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a trade infrastructure developed on the continent that provides the platform for innovation and investment to make the change happen.
With the acceleration of AfCFTA’s agenda, which created a critical framework to facilitate more intra-African trade and paired with greater access to finance and active business networks, intra-trade in African countries will prompt more growth opportunities for their respective economies.
Mr. Farag El Mahrouky, Head of the Marketing and Customer Service Department at WTC Cairo, points out that Egypt is looking to focus on collaboration and communications, emphasizing improving trade services.
As a signatory of the AfCFTA, Mr. Rateneh Fassil, CEO and Managing Director of WTC Addis Ababa, sees the continued growth of regional and continental trade integration as a significant opportunity for growth and recovery, especially in the areas of infrastructure, education, and health.
According to Ms. Wuraola Onigbogi, Trade Services Manager at WTC Abuja, Nigeria is holistically recognizing the importance of creativity, digital trade, and maintaining relationships with clients. The country’s revised 2023-2027 trade policy strongly emphasizes e-commerce and digital payments, and Nigeria is eager to take advantage of the increased access to cheaper goods and services offered by the AfCFTA.
Ms. Onigbogi believes that the real innovation in Africa lies within human commerce and the shift to mobile money transactions. Ms. Onigbogi stated that Nigeria has seen a surge in mobile money transactions year-over-year. The volume of mobile transactions increased by 237% to 108 million in January 2023 from 32 million in January 2022. This growth is driven by a young and tech-savvy population, opening up new possibilities for services like fast, affordable transport and mobile food deliveries.
Nigeria is also poised to be a hub of international trade for manufactured and processed goods, focusing on agro-processing and agriculture. The Federal Government of Nigeria, in particular, is working to address challenges in the sector with initiatives such as the “Zero Reject Initiative.”
In addition, the mining sector, with its untapped mineral resources like gold, iron ore, and titanium, remains an integral part of Africa’s future.
The establishment of WTC Abuja, Nigeria, is a gateway in Africa for businesses, trade, and investment opportunities. This will aid in curbing some of the challenges ahead for the Nigerian and African economies.
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