Countries in the continent should look beyond trade and markets and collaborate in delivering regional public good, so as to ensure the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and achieve growth in their respective economies, the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), has said.
The ACET report titled, “Integrating to Transform, also stated: “But while past regional integration efforts have often struggled, Africa’s transformation requires much more progress on regional integration.
“To achieve growth with depth and for the AfCFTA to succeed, countries have to look beyond trade and markets and collaborate in delivering regional public goods such as transport corridors, free movement of people, well-managed river basins, cross-border digital connectivity, and systems to control future outbreaks of pests and disease.
“These will all help tackle the three frontline challenges of jobs, innovation, and climate— all national challenges with regional components. And in a self-reinforcing manner, collaboration to produce regional public goods will also help build experience and trust to pursue deeper regional economic integration, under the AfCFTA.
“To advance on these fronts will take dedicated leadership at all levels, starting with top political leaders and extending to government, private firms, academia, and civil society. Africa’s leaders will need to promote visions that go beyond their national interest and to pursue collective action for the common good.
“Turning top-down visions into reality needs to be complemented by a bottom-up, more problem-driven approach to national and regional problems to help overcome the political economy barriers that have slowed progress in the past.”
Mr. Kingsley Amoako, the Founder and President of the ACET, said: “The main message of the 2021 African Transformation Report is that Africa’s economic transformation requires much more progress on regional integration.”
Amoako also said that African countries should tackle three frontline challenges, namely jobs, innovation and climate, which could make or break their efforts to transform their economies.
He urged African countries to focus on these three areas, “because they are the ones that will shape Africa’s future, and they are on every policymaker’s agenda. Tackling each of them supports the transformation agenda for growth with depth, and each requires and fosters regional collaboration.”
“Ensure jobs for the world’s youngest and fastest-growing labor force by imparting skills for work in 21st century agriculture, manufacturing and services and support digital innovation by enabling the private sector to deliver the many benefits from digital technologies in creating jobs, boosting productivity, and reducing poverty while managing climate risks by promoting climate-smart agriculture, protecting green and blue ecosystems, and exploiting renewable energy”, he said.