PUBLISHED ON April 6th, 2023

AfCFTA Business Forum 2023 seeks to accelerate implementation of historic free trade area

Cape Town, South Africa – The AfCFTA Business Forum is set to take place on 16-18 April 2023 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, under the patronage of H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa. The forum aims to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area in terms of participating countries.

The AfCFTA brings together 55 countries with a combined GDP of $3.5 trillion and a market of 1.4 billion consumers. Its aim is to boost intra-African trade, raise Africa’s trading position on the global market, and accelerate economic growth, industrialization, production, and job creation.

The AfCFTA Business Forum seeks to create awareness of the current business and investment opportunities in the AfCFTA among Africa’s business community. It also aims to establish a private sector engagement platform for continued consultations on private sector needs in the implementation of the AfCFTA, and promote a private sector-friendly environment, especially for MSMEs led by Women and Youth, to unlock more accessible and affordable access to finance and markets.

The forum invites broad participation of Africa’s private sector, strategic investors, financial institutions, investment promotion agencies, business councils, chambers of commerce, multinational corporations, African women and youth business organisations, as well as Heads of States and Government, and AfCFTA Partners.

With the completion of phase I of the AfCFTA and components of phase II covering Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, the Dispute Settlement Mechanism, Investments, Competition Policy, and Intellectual Property Rights, the AfCFTA Business Forum provides countless trade and investment opportunities for the private sector to capitalize on.

The forum’s focus sectors include Agro Processing, Automotives, Pharmaceuticals, Transport & Logistics, and Digital Trade. The Digital Trade protocol, expected to be concluded in July 2023, shall establish the appropriate regulatory framework for new market opportunities in the digital economy. The protocol on Women and Youth in Trade, which is also expected to be concluded in July 2023, is an important instrument for achieving inclusive benefits in the AfCFTA market.

The AfCFTA Business Forum is a step towards realizing the potential of the AfCFTA and building a prosperous Africa together.

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