The President of the Pan-African Manufacturers Association, Francis Meshioye, has called on relevant stakeholders to harmonise efforts towards realising the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Meshioye, who is also the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), made the call during the lighting of the African trade torch for implementation of AfCFTA held on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to him, AfCFTA has created a market of over 1.3 billion people, which is the largest single market in the world with a GDP of over $2.6tn.

He added that it has been estimated that AfCFTA would boost Africa’s export by more than $600bn with a wage gain of more than 10 per cent, which presents a unique opportunity for increased production capacities and trade volume and serve as a catalyst for a significant reduction in poverty.

Meshioye said, “PAMA, sees the single liberalised market for free trade in goods and services, which AfCFTA offers as a lifetime opportunity for African countries to trade more with each other, refocus national economic, investment and industrial policies to be in sync with continental aspirations to enhance private sector development, grow national economies, increase the number of African multinational companies and fast-track the process of fully

All these opportunities are for the taking if the competitiveness of private businesses is enhanced and I must say, we cannot afford to allow this monumental opportunity to liberate Africa economically to slip from our hands.”

Noting that the benefits and opportunities that AfCFTA offers are not without challenges that will necessitate tough decisions and measures, Meshioye expressed confidence that with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders and the overwhelming support of all private sector operators in Africa, these hurdles are surmountable.

He added that the common thread observed through his interaction with stakeholders was the hope that AfCFTA would transform Africa into a prosperous continent.

He said all hands must be on deck to continue to support the African Union and the AfCFTA Secretariat in the quest to evolve strategic approaches that would ensure that trading in the AfCFTA corridor stimulates inclusive development in Africa through a strategic framework that would facilitate the inflow of investment into the continent.

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