Present at the PAFTRAC Constitutive meeting were the representatives of African Union, African Export – Import Bank, African Development Bank, UN Economic Commission for Africa, the International Trade Centre, Ecobank, The African Capacity Building Foundation, the African Business Roundtable, the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce, the AfroChampions Initiative, Ethiopian Airlines , Egyptian Business Women Association among several others.
The African Export-Import Bank along with the African Union Commission and other key partners and sponsoring institutions, including the African Development Bank, the Pan – African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ecobank, the International Trade Centre, the AfroChampions Initiative, announced the launch of a Pan-African Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) on 20th March 2018 during the Business Forum organized on the side-lines of the African Union Summit devoted to the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Pan-African Trade and Investment Committee aims to provide the framework for facilitating the participation and engagement of the African Private Sector in trade and investment issues in Africa, including trade and investment policy formulation and trade negotiations and implementation of trade agreements. The Committee will serve as an advocacy platform to galvanize the views of the African Private Sector on the ground and transmit those important views to policy makers to strengthen the foundation of public-private partnership in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA)
The Honourable Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union, H.E. Albert Muchanga in his Opening and Welcome Remarks at the Constitutive meeting, called on the African Private Sector to increase their investments in Africa as the current level of 12% was considered low. He also challenged them to bring on board the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the informal sector to engage in the Continental Free Trade Area.
Professor Benedict O. Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, African Export – Import Bank in his address at the Constitutive Meeting, stated that there was an urgent need to strengthen the dialogue between the Private Sector and Public Sector to fast track the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area, as a united Africa under CFTA can expect to forge a formidable bloc to confront global trade challenges.
Prof. Oramah further stated that AfCTA should move from the political arena of ratifications to the economic drivers. The Private Sector should start undertaking investments and trading with each other, build regional value chains and take advantage of opportunities provided by AfCTA so that the Agreement will not become a mere paper tiger.
Mr. Samuel Dossou-Aworet in his contribution stated that the aims and objectives of the Committee (PAFTRAC) were in sync with those of the African Business Roundtable (ABR) under his leadership. His mission, since his election as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, ABR about a year ago has been to reposition the institution as a truly Pan-African organization providing the platform for the Private sector to undertake projects for the development of Africa while building the capacity of indigenous entrepreneurs to enhance the competitiveness of their product and services in the global market place. His strategy to realize this mission included incorporating good governance principles and global best practices in all operations of the ABR, establishing strategic partnerships and strengthening relationships with relevant development institutions.
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