Africa must use continental new trade agreement to plan Coronavirus recovery plan

PUBLISHED: Mon, 01 Feb 2021 15:48:14 GMT
Chuma Mxo
CNBC Africa
Key Points
  • The continent seeks to return to macroeconomic stability and fiscal responsibility.
  • Africans should make every effort to generate for themselves the additional funds they need to advance.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Ghana’s president, gestures as he speaks during a news conference on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21 – 24. Photographer: Gem Atkinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Africa needs to find its own resources in order to drive a sustainable post-Covid-19 recovery and reconstruction plan built on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the President of Ghana told this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said this was crucial as the continent seeks to return to macroeconomic stability and fiscal responsibility while leveraging rapidly changing digital technologies to improve livelihoods.

“The multilateral system is under strain, and we must do all that we can to generate the needed resources to achieve sustainable development,” the Ghanaian leader told a session entitled `Building Inclusive, Sustainable and Job-Creating Growth in Africa’”.

“We in Africa should make every effort to generate for ourselves the additional funds we need to advance, and hopefully our external partners – private and public – will lend their backing to the priorities we set.”

The agreement connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. The World Bank says it has the potential to pull more than 30 million people out of extreme poverty.

Akufo-Addo said goodwill towards the continent remained strong as shown by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who told the virtual WEF Davos Dialogues that South Africa had mobilised around $51 billion (R774billion) in new investment commitments over the last three years.

Ramaphosa said around a fifth of the committed value had already been invested in construction and essential equipment for mining, manufacturing, telecoms and agriculture.

Naspers SA Chief Executive Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa told the meeting that digital had the ability to help reduce some of the inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus.

“Africa’s digital transformation has the potential to leap frog many cycles of development. We can make significant advances enabling sustainable economic growth ensuring we move forward collectively so that no one is left behind.”

Absa Group Chief Executive Daniel Mminele said the there was an opportunity to leverage public funds and infrastructure investments better to uplift communities.

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