The African Union, along with various partners, is scheduled to hold the African Industrialization Week (AIW) in Addis Ababa from November 18-22, 2019.
The AIW, which aims to supply the demand expected to be created by the largest trade area agreement in the world, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has “Positioning African Industry to Supply the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Market” as its theme.
The statement that the African Union Commission’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sent to The Reporter regarding the event reads, “with the AfCFTA ushering in a market space of at least USD 3.4 trillion, and a consumer base of 1.27 billion, there is no doubt that moving the continent’s industrial production frontier, becomes critical, as enterprises tap into large scale opportunities on the back of free trade. The AIW 2019; through leveraging public-private dialogue platforms, seeks to: engender industry policy coherence in Africa; enhance effective engagement of key stakeholders by the AUC on industrialization and trade-related subjects in the context of the AfCFTA.”
This year’s event, the second to the inaugural AIW held in Niger last year, focuses on exploring tools; and business instruments that strengthen the industry’s capacity to compete and innovate. Hence, it is expected to be attended by more than 1,000 multi-stakeholder delegates drawn from the private sector, public sector, civil society, development partners, trade and industry think tanks within and outside Africa. The sectoral profile of the Business Start-Ups includes high tech companies, manufacturers, tourism, Medicare, automotive, textiles, fertilizers, and the financial sector.
“The event is expected to provide a public-private engagement dialogue platform that seeks to enhance the interface between the industrial policymakers; AU Member States; Private Sector representatives; Regional Economic Communities; AU Commission; Africa Korea Foundation; Academia; Civic society; Research Institutes and Think Tanks; and financial institutions such as Afreximbank and Africa Development Bank,” the statement adds, indicating that “it will also promote the implementation of AU continental frameworks such as; the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA); the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), the SME Strategy; the Boosting Intra-African Trade strategy (BIAT); and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
The agreement for the establishment of the AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019, with the ratification of the same by 24 nations. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was subsequently launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019. The AfCFTA will be governed by five operational instruments, i.e. the Rules of Origin; the online negotiating forum; the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers; a digital payments system and the African Trade Observatory.