14th July 2024

In a bid to foster economic integration and drive the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) has launched the second edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD).

The launch, which featured top African business leaders, political leaders, and local and international media, occurred at the Africa Trade House on the sidelines of the Afreximbank annual meetings currently happening in Accra.

The APD aims to mobilize the private sector and various stakeholders to collaborate and strategize on ways to maximize the potential of the single market for Africa’s 1.4 billion people and lay the foundation for the its ambition to reshape Africa’s economic landscape.

The 2024 APD will take place from Thursday, January 25 to Saturday, January 27, 2024 in the serene mountains of the Eastern Region, Ghana. It will be hosted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, under theme “Delivering Prosperity in Africa-The Next Frontiers”.

Launching the 2024 APD yesterday, Second Lady Samira Bawumia stressed the need to recognise the significance progress that had been made since the inaugural edition of the APD. “The insights gleaned, the partnerships formed, and the initiatives catalyzed have all contributed to the prosperity journey of Africa,” she indicated.

She commended the APN, participants and all those involved for their dedication and contributions, thus far. “APD represents an unparalleled opportunity for us all to come together, share insights, and shape the trajectory of our continent’s future. It is the testament to our shared belief in the immense potential of Africa, and our unwavering determination to unlock that potential for the benefit of all its people,” she added.

Collective efforts

The Second Lady said the implementation of the AfCFTA requires collaboration, coordination and collective efforts from all stakeholders like international partners, civil society organisations to create an enabling environment that facilitates seamless trade, reduce trade barriers and promotes the movement of goods, services and investment across borders.

Urging stakeholders to commit to action, the Second Lady indicated that the second edition of the APD presents Africa with a renewed opportunity to build upon our past successes and accelerate the pace of progress.

“I believe the theme and focus area of this edition are timely and relevant to the challenges we face. It is, therefore, imperative that we explore innovative solutions to drive intra-Africa trade, stimulate inclusive growth, address inequality, and embrace sustainable development practices, whilst acknowledging the pivotal role of Africa’s youthful population, the empowerment of women and implementation of the AfCFTA in shaping Africa’s future,” she stressed.

She also stressed the need to invest meaningfully in the Africa’s youth in the areas of education, skill training, and employment opportunities. Such succeeding tools, she said, will unlock their entrepreneurial spirit, drive economic growth and build a prosperous Africa for generations to come.

She emphasised the need to prioritise the empowerment of women, adding that it is not only a moral imperative but a strategic choice for sustainable development.

“Globally, women still occupy only 25.7% of all available parliamentary positions, 7.2% of Head of State positions, 6.2% of Head of Government positions, and 21.3% of Cabinet positions. These numbers illustrate the huge disparities and highlight the urgent need for progress. In Africa, women occupy about 24% of parliamentary seats, I must say the highest concentration being in the Southern and Eastern part of Africa, where the figures stand around 31% and 32.2% respectively,” she said. She, however, bemoaned that even in these regions, women continue to face barriers hindering their full participation and contribution.

Robust infrastructure

The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, also emphasized the pivotal role of developing strong public infrastructure in promoting regional economic integration and prosperity in Africa.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to expanding infrastructure projects to bridge development gaps within the country. He highlighted the necessity of robust and efficient infrastructure to support Africa’s regional integration, economic growth, and overall development. He emphasized the significant infrastructure investment required across various sectors, including transportation networks, energy, affordable housing, and water supply and sanitation systems.

The Minister stressed the significance of forging strong alliances with African governments, development institutions, private sector entities, and international organizations to mobilize financial resources, technical expertise, and knowledge sharing, expediting infrastructure development and achieving common objectives.

Appreciation

In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of the APN, Gabby Asare Otchere- Darko, expressed appreciation to the AfCFTA Secretariat and all other partners for their driven leadership and commitment for the project as well as efforts of private sector in Africa for showing commitment to this project.

He said the APD 2024 would build strategic network among private sector decision-makers across all sectors to overcome trade and investment challenges and facilitate the free movement of people, good and services across Africa in its truest form.

“We all know that there’s only one way for Africa to succeed, which is that Africa must get it right and must own its destiny. And we see the single market project as, perhaps, the most important, significant and transformational project anywhere in the world for this century. If we can get it right, then we can get Africa right. So we are here today to do what we want to do every year, which is to launch the Second edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues, and we thank you for coming,” he stated.

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