Migration, fragility, and addressing regional public issues
nother key aspect of a successful AfCFTA would be good governance, coupled with a regional integration perspective, the panellists said.
Fragility, which leads to the migration of youth and affects women and children the most, would have to be addressed and reduced.
The issue of land conflicts also significantly impacts a region’s agricultural output.
Dr Temitope Oshikoya, an economic strategist, said that an example of this was the migration of cattle herders from neighbouring countries to central Nigeria, which had led to tensions and insecurity.
“This needs to be tackled from a regional public good perspective,” Oshikoya said, adding that incentives should be provided to policy makers for collective action.
Other factors – the current low levels of intra-African trade and the high dependence of African countries on imports – could also damage integration efforts.
Education and skills building were two other key areas needing priority intervention.
Summarising the discussion, UNDP country Director Stephen Rodriques pointed out that successful integration would entail both national and regional resolve to address the risks that could impede the full implementation of AfCFTA.
“We know that there are multiple fault lines and risks... many issues are cross-border. Regional public issues should be addressed proportionately.
Education and skills training, for example, has to be addressed as a continental agenda,” Rodriques said.
The African Economic Conference, held annually, is the continent’s leading forum fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange in the search for solutions to the development challenges of Africa. It brings together leading academics, highranking government representatives, and development practitioners from across the globe.
This year’s AEC focus was ‘transformative initiatives for accelerating progress in infrastructure integration that are inclusive and promote equity, including the removal of barriers for movement of people, goods, and services across borders.’
The next AEC conference will take place in December 2019.