By Charles Anthony
Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), emphatically highlighted the transformative potential embedded within the AfCFTA. Encompassing an impressive expanse of 1.3 billion individuals, the AfCFTA stands not merely as a symbol of collective strength but as a beacon of economic resurgence.
Mr. Mene articulated a vision of the AfCFTA as a catalyst for unprecedented progress, poised to navigate and surmount the prevailing challenges, thereby unlocking a new era of prosperity and integration across the continent.
In a pivotal session titled “Movers and Shakers in Transformation: How Sustainable Business Models are Delivering on Africa’s Climate and Food Agenda” at the 54th World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr. Mene, , presented a compelling discourse.
The session, hosted by AGRA and led by its President Dr. Agnes Kalibata, was aptly titled “Movers and Shakers in Transformation: How Sustainable Business Models are Delivering on Africa’s Climate and Food Agenda.”
Opening the dialogue with a striking revelation about the burgeoning promise of the African market, Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), underscored the monumental scale of the initiative.
“The AfCFTA, encompassing a staggering 1.3 billion individuals, stands not just as a testament to collective potential but as a game-changer in terms of competitiveness and the continent’s overall capacity,” he stated. Mr. Mene deftly juxtaposed Africa’s burgeoning prospects against the backdrop of global economic titans such as China and India.
In his incisive analysis, he acknowledged the stark disparities in food security and production capabilities, yet ingeniously reframed these challenges as pivotal opportunities. “This apparent deficit,” he remarked, “while formidable, unveils an expansive vista of possibility, setting the stage for Africa to not only bridge the gap but to redefine its role on the world stage.”
His address, firmly anchored in the intricate weave of the current socio-economic context, delved deeply into the vast potential and formidable challenges that Africa confronts in the critical sectors of food security and trade. With each articulate point, Mr. Mene illuminated the path forward, showcasing his profound understanding and strategic vision for the continent’s future.
Mr. Mene opened his address by acknowledging the sheer market size of the AfCFTA, saying, “the AFCGA, as you know, a market of 1.3 billion people, is a substantial difference in terms of competitiveness as well as the capacity for the continent.” He contrasted Africa’s potential with the current economic heavyweights, highlighting a significant gap yet framing it as an opportunity, “if you look at China, India, the African continent, and the capacities to feed and ensure food security of these countries relative to the African continent, there’s a… deficit [that] is a significant challenge but also an opportunity.”