PAFTRAC offers window to Africa
LAST WEEK, AFRICA’S leading private sector institutions and corporates meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, established a Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) to serve as an advocacy platform to support
LAST WEEK, AFRICA’S leading private sector institutions and corporates meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, established a Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) to serve as an advocacy platform to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and enhance African private sector participation in trade and investment policy formulation, including trade negotiations.
They said the PAFTRAC would enhance African private sector participation and galvanize the views of the African private sector, mainstreaming them into trade and investment policy making. And that the body, while providing a framework for effective publicprivate partnership in the promotion of African trade, will enhance the integration of Africa into the global economy, and contribute to the transformation of African economies, in line with the African Union’s “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.”
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Union Commission (AUC) co-hosted the meeting.
Patrick Utomi, a professor of political economy, management expert and founder of the Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL), Nigeria, was elected as PAFTRAC’s first chairperson for a two-year term. Vice-chairpersons from different regions of the continent would support him (Utomi).
Many Nigerian corporates interestingly participated at the meeting.
Albert Muchanga, African Union commissioner for trade and industry, and Benedict Oramah, a professor and president and chairman of the board of directors of Afreximbank co-chaired the meeting.
Muchanga said PAFTRAC was an important stepping-stone towards the establishment of the African Business Council (ABC) provided for under the AfCFTA framework.
Oramah said it was imperative for the African private sector to play a more active role in shaping the parameters of trade and investment policy at the national, regional and continental levels for its own benefit, and to achieve the transformation of African economies.
A group of leaders comprising chief executives of leading African businesses and financial institutions, representatives of regional African business councils and chambers of commerce would drive the PAFTRAC. Representatives of African policy and research institutions will also be included.
What does this then hold for Nigerian corporate institutions, and how can they play deep in the body for the benefit of Nigeria’s economy? Friday Udoh, a doctorate degree holder and coordinator, South-South zone, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (ICEN) said they (the Nigerian corporate institutions) should carefully queue into the PAFRAC.
“They should also employ best practices in ensuring that Nigeria’s economy, which badly needs foreign investment, gains from their participation,” Udoh told business a.m. in an interview.
He also counselled that many Nigerian private sector operators, especially those in the organised private sector – the chambers of commerce, should open up their participation in PAFTRAC, since its members are committed to mobilising wider private sector support for the initiative.
Meanwhile, PAFTRAC members adopted a work programme for the period 2019-2021, which will focus on trade finance; trade facilitation; non-tariff measures; and Africa’s external trade and investment relations.
The PAFTRAC Secretariat will be hosted by Afreximbank.
The following were participants at the meeting: COMESA Business Council; the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry; the African Business Roundtable; Afro Champions; the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ethiopian Airlines; and EBOMAF. Others were the African Development Bank; Ecobank; ITC; the African Economic Research Consortium; the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA); PanAfrican University; CERPAC and the World Diamond Council.
They should also employ best practices in ensuring that Nigeria’s economy, which badly needs foreign investment, gains from their participation