Diaspora Support for Free Trade and Economic Growth in Africa

Image by African Union
Many have pointed out that Africa is positioned as the last economic frontier. Africans in the diaspora have been recognized as critical players in this economy and are urged to actively participate in changing the economic trajectory of the continent, through, among other things, creating financial institutions to support the continent’s development initiatives. 

During a meeting held on Thursday September 6th2018, the African Union Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, called on Africans in the diaspora to unite, create social and business partnerships and investments that would position Africa strategically in the global economy, and provide a basis for fair  trade negotiations.

As Ambassador, she is fulfilling the African Union Mission’s mandate to undertake, develop and maintain constructive and productive institutional relationships between the African Union and Africans in the Diaspora. 

But there are many unanswered questions about the socio-economic status of different countries that make up Africa.That is why it is critical that we in the diaspora understand the trade terms and treaties signed by different countries in Africa, and how they impact the success rate of economic activities in those countries. 

It is worth celebrating that recently, African Union member states recognized the need to break down trade barriers within the continent, with 49 of 55 signing an agreement to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Once the agreement enters into force, it will result in the largest free-trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

As an action plan, the diaspora needs to rally around the countries that have already ratified or are planning to ratify, and remind them that there is strength in numbers.

Vivian Kobusingye Birchall

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