‘Without industrialisation, AfCTFA is all pomp and ceremony’

Consultant Barbara Mommen.

Without industrialisation, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) is “all pomp and ceremony without the necessary wealth-creating follow-through”.

That’s the view of Barbara Mommen, a stakeholder consultant who heads up an outfit called Coalescence.

“Industrialisation is critical,” she said, if AfCTFA was to tap into the potential of 54 countries – Eritrea is the only non-signatory – combining to form a trade block of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $2 trillion.

And that applies to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) which has been criticised for failing to deliver on its mandate to increase industrialisation in Africa.

According to Duncan Bonnett of Africa House, Agoa beneficiation remains the preserve of mainly South Africa and a few others like Lesotho and Mauritius for exports of clothing and textiles.

Eyes are also firmly fixed on countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda where developments in the production of clothing, the manufacturing of motorcycles, and the development of technology confirm the view that pockets of performance could send out ripples across the rest of the continent.


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