By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan, July 28, 2020 (NAN) Stakeholders have tasked African continent on the need to put in place institutional and policy mechanisms for the provision of finance for the implementation of Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that they disclosed this at a webinar on Tuesday, organised by Conversation with Africa.
The online meeting was entitled: ‘Financing Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement at both Individual and Continental levels.’
In his address, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Botswana and guest of honour at the event underscoref the need to rub minds towards economic freedom.
Matsheka stated that a major policy shift will be required to be developed by member states individually and collectively to give effect to the new economic dispensation.
“African continent will need to put in place institutional and policy mechanisms for the provision of finance to provide structure; short, medium and long term finance to support trading activities.
“It is therefore necessary to explore the appropriate institutional mechanism through which risks in international trade financing can be managed and mitigated to allow enhanced flow of finance.
“The private financial community will have to play a more aggressive and proactive role in laying down financial facilities for the regional international trading community.
“It is therefore a call upon the commercial trade investment financing houses to step forward and formulate innovative strategies to meet this demand in Africa,”he said.
Also, Chief Sola Abodunrin, the President, Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a panelist at the event emphasized the need for full implementation which he said would increase inter African trade by 52 per cent.
Abodunrin stated that financing for AFCFTA should come from the political will of member states and in collaboration with African Development Bank and other international financial organisations.
“There are a lot of prospects if pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds and insurance funds can be harnessed.
“Most of these funds are invested in Europe and it has to be re-mobilised back to Africa to develop the infrastructure gap that is in Africa.
“It was estimated that Africa has $108billion infrastructural gaps. These funds will help to facilitate trading activities by building rails and roads that will inter cross Africa and make transportation of humans and goods easy,”he said.
Other panelists, Mr Kiprono Kittony, the Vice Chairman Africa, International Chamber of Commerce and Mr Gobusamang Keebine, President Business Botswana, reiterated the need for full implementation of AFCFTA, adding that implementation is always the challenge for any project.
Kittony said: “The financing for AFCFTA can be sought through the capital markets which are very effective ways to galvanise capital and raise money to achieve any long term project.
“Development banks are another option and government funding.
“It is important that African countries should try to prioritise within their budget funding to allow for effective implementation of AFCFTA.”