Equity Group Holdings on Friday joined hands with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to accelerate Africa’s recovery.
Dr James Mwangi, the Equity Equity Group Chief Executive Officer, said the plan is an African initiative that invites others to come along, which he described as “an enormous economic development plan”.
According to Dr Mwangi, the Regional Development Plan, through recovery and resilience initiatives, focuses on six thematic areas: food and agriculture, extractives, manufacturing and logistics enhancement.
Trade and investment access to new markets, technology, capital, and skills; connectivity of MSMEs into formal value chains; social and environmental transformation capacity building of value chain stakeholders; and creating an innovation-led, technology-enabled economy to bring businesses online.
“This is where wealth will be created, and opportunities expanded,” Dr Mwangi emphasized during the signing ceremony.
Dr Mwangi added that the partnership with the secretariat will help formulate policies for the African market and promote trade within the continent.
“We have realized that financing for the African continent businesses is not the main challenge; as African Nations, we need to work together to develop consistent and harmonized policies.”
According to the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, trade liberalization with trade finance will be vital in connecting the value chains across countries.
“Trade financing will lead Africa to its recovery and accelerate it. Food security impacts the region’s GDP growth with an estimated contraction of 2–2.5 per cent, Wamkele noted.
The partnership will, among others, support the creation of 50 million jobs by 2025, and 5 million SMEs will receive loans to scale and grow, utilising tools of the AfCFTA Agreement and create additional private sector lending with an envisaged loan book to be directed to agriculture (30%), manufacturing (15%), MSMEs (65%).
As the continent’s technical interface with Africa’s development stakeholders and development partners for the realisation of accelerated regional integration, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) will collaborate with the institutions through various means, including project financing, trade enhancement and fund mobilisation.
The signing of the MoU took place at the margins of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Lusaka, Zambia.
“This MoU between AfCFTA and Equity Group is an expression of the vision we have for the African continent and what we seek to achieve for both the private and public sector,” Wamkele said.
“This is no small fete, and we applaud Equity for being at the forefront of championing the integration of our continent and the systematic recovery and resilience of our economies as a united people with a common cause.”