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AfCFTA Secretariat on the Quick Wins and Direction of Africa’s Largest Single Market

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been heralded as a landmark agreement. Advocates say it will transform business across Africa by removing tariffs and making it easier to trade across borders. According to Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA secretariat, “If you’re a big corporation, you are able to access a new market instantaneously. Bigger corporations and institutional investors will be the immediate beneficiaries. Small-to-medium enterprises, that’s going to take perhaps two to three years. We are going to introduce a trade finance facility for small-to-medium enterprises that are primarily led by women, so that we quicken the period.” Mene believes Africa should leverage the potential for agribusiness, “The big question for me is how do we actually get agriculture to be part of Africa’s industrial development? In the next few months, we are going to establish an industrial development forum. And in this industrial development forum, working together with the African Union, we are going to invite investors, industrialists, the private sector, government, and ask ourselves, as the African continent, which value chains do we want to focus on in the next three to four years?”