Accra, 19 May 2022 (TDI): Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of AfCFTA participated in the 13th WTPO Conference on Wednesday.
At the conference, Mene delivered an opening address themed “Bold Solutions for Resilience and Recovery”.
The conference took place in Accra, the home to the headquarters of the AfCFTA Secretariat and the capital of Ghana.
— AfCFTA Secretariat Official (@AfCFTA) May 17, 2022
In his speech, Mene said that countries around the world, including African ones, have entered the recovery phase from Covid-19.
Mene also introduced the recession and challenges caused by the pandemic. However, although the situation is complex, he called on everyone to be optimistic. The implementation of Africa’s continental integration and also the AfCFTA will contribute to building the resilience of the continent in the context of the post-Covid era.
African Countries Have Suffered A Lot During the Pandemic
AfCFTA’s Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene was invited to give an opening speech for the event. During the address, Mene frankly introduced how Africa has been suffering from the COVID-19 and its side effects.
The pandemic has triggered the sharpest recession in over 25 years, especially having serious impacts on reducing poverty in Africa.
Moreover, data from AfDB shows that Africa’s GDP fell by $165 billion. At the same time, over 30 million jobs disappeared and more than 26 million people fell into extreme poverty.
Furthermore, the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict, unstable global supply chain, and the rise of international commodity prices and inflation are against the goal to recover the continent.
AfCFTA, A Game Changer in the Post-Covid Era
Although the situation is complex as introduced above, Mene mostly called on the continent to be optimistic and confident about the huge potential that Africa has. With joint efforts and bold actions, the African continent has its own opportunity on the way to recovery and development in the post-COVID era.
Although no single African country can launch an influential national economic recovery plan with a massive infusion of capital, the African continent can benefit all its members by working together.
According to Mene, Africa’s current priority should be promoting economic stimulus strategies and mobilizing investments. High multiplier effects can bring more robust recovery and job creation if progress is made. Therefore, AfCFTA is a significant tool and platform for African countries to cooperate on Africa’s stimulus package.
With achievements in continental integration and digitalization, the African continent can become less vulnerable when facing global crises. In addition, under the umbrella of the AfCFTA, African countries can enjoy more opportunities for economic development.
Besides, being optimistic cannot be convincing unless the continent does have its unique potential. Thus, Mene spoke highly of the youthful and innovative population, which is the future of the continent. Additionally, the growing middle class, abundant natural resources, and improving governance systems are also the proof to be confident in Africa’s future.