The Executive Chairman of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), organisers of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has called on Ghanaian businesses to, as a matter of priority, begin positioning themselves to take advantage of all the opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers.
Addressing leading corporate executives, including CEOs of all the major banks, heads of institutions, Members of Parliament and members of the international community at a partners’ cocktail, ahead of the 2024 edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD), Mr Otchere-Darko said, Ghana, by virtue of hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat, is positioned as the “commercial centre” of the continent and businesses in the country must leverage all that.
He encouraged businesses to begin seeing their economic catchment area as continent-wide rather than just national.
"We are building an integrated African economy. The political leaders have given us a framework. But, it is not the politicians who will do it, it is the private sector operating on this continent that will make it happen," Gabby Otchere-Darko stressed.
The APD 2024 will take place from 25th to 27th January 2024 at the Peduase Presidential Lodge, Aburi Hills, in the Eastern Region of Ghana and will be hosted by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.
AfCFTA, APD partnership
The AfCFTA Secretariat is a core partner of the annual Africa Prosperity Dialogues.
The Chief of Staff at the AfCFTA Secretariat, Silver Ojakol, in a supporting statement on behalf of Wamkele Mene, the Secretary General of AfCFTA, described the AfCFTA Secretariat’s partnership with APN as a strategic one that will go a long way to influencing the ability of the AfCFTA to deliver on the much-needed project of building the world’s largest single market in Africa.
“The theme for next year is: ‘Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade.’ It is very much aligned with the pillars that we [at AfCFTA] have developed from the policy perspective,” he said.
“The pillars of regional value chain development, value addition, increased production on the continent in order that we can trade more with each other, and the pillar of trading, even trading across our borders are all the focus.
“The AfCFTA Secretariat is very much committed to ensuring that this process moves forward and delivers prosperity for the continent and we are very happy to be partners for the Africa Prosperity Dialogues,” Silver Ojakol said.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a brief statement, urged the huge representation of the business community at the cocktail to look out for and take full advantage of the many brilliant ideas that will be shared at the 2024 APD and endeavour to implement them for the benefit of the continent.
The first edition of the APD in January 2023 resulted in the unanimous adoption of the Action Compact by the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union in February 2023. This groundbreaking initiative forged a crucial partnership between the continent's private sector and the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Themed 'The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): From Ambition to Action, Delivering Prosperity through Continental Trade,' the APD 2023 aligned with the AU Summit's overarching theme.
Building on the success of APD 2023, APD 2024 will offer an invaluable opportunity to engage private and public sectors, develop finance institutions, influential thought leaders, civil societies, and youth organisations, all in the process of syncing Ghana's economic priorities.
The dialogues will also showcase flagship projects and initiatives that are both scalable and replicable and are ready for financing and implementation with the objective of significantly enhancing trade and investment among African nations.
This will be done by focusing more on adding value to what is produced and also on how best to facilitate trade and investment across African markets and beyond.
The dialogues will bring into focus the continent’s critical challenges and priorities, with a key focus on bolstering value addition and infrastructural development, championing agriculture and food security, sustainable development of natural resources, and industrialisation.
Technology and financing play an essential role in Africa’s prosperity narrative.
The strategic objectives of APD 2024, under the theme 'Delivering Prosperity in Africa – Produce, Add Value, Trade', are fourfold.
First is, “to facilitate a comprehensive dialogue that brings together key stakeholders from government, business, civil society, and academia to discuss and develop inclusive and realistic strategies for delivering prosperity in Africa.
The second objective is, “to promote and strengthen regional and continental integration, particularly in the context of the AU Agenda 2063, and as a means to foster intra-Africa trade, economic growth, and prosperity.
The third objective is “to prioritise the inclusion of marginalised populations, women, and youth in Africa's development agenda and ensure that prosperity is truly inclusive", and lastly, “to provide a platform for sharing best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions that can be replicated across the continent”.
The 2024 edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) is being organised by Africa Prosperity Network (APN) in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, which is situated in Accra, Ghana.
The other partners are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), United Nations Economic Forum for Africa (UNECA), Africa Business Council (AfBC), Africa America Institute (AAI), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), Africa Soft Power and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).