African Continental Free Trade Area’s first Youth Day promotes cross-border trade
International Trade Centre, AfCFTA Secretariat, and Independent Youth Advisory Council on AfCFTA call for Africa’s youth to embrace cross-continental trade on first AfCFTA Youth Day
The International Trade Centre (ITC), the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Independent Youth Advisory Council on AfCFTA (ICOYACA) marked the first “AfCFTA Youth Day”. They urged Africa’s youth to pursue business opportunities through cross-continental trade made possible by the AfCFTA Agreement.
Established in 2018, the AfCFTA has a combined output of $1,7 trillion, and its estimated transformative potential will rely on the ability to tap into the skills of the continent’s youth.
The discussions centred around the implementation status of the Free Trade Area, its implications on Africa’s youth in business, and what young entrepreneurs could expect from initiatives such as the AfCFTA Women and Youth Protocol.
Themed “Young People as Stimulants for a Sustainable Prosperous Continent Through Trade and Industrialization”, the one-day event was hosted by Uganda’s Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Hon. Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke; ITC Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton; Cabo Verde Secretary of the State for Digital Economy, Hon. Pedro Lopes; the East African Business Council Executive Director, John Bosco Kalisa; and the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat H.E. Mene Wamkele represented by Prudence Sebahizi, Chief Technical Advisor on the AfCFTA.
Prudence Sebahizi, Chief Technical Advisor at the AfCFTA Secretariat emphasized at the event: “Young people must scrutinize their opportunities and see what is in it for them in their respective areas of business.”
Hon. Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke, Uganda’s Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs said: “The AfCFTA focuses on addressing the challenges that have hindered youth participation in intra-African trade. It offers Africa the opportunity to confront significant trade and economic challenges.”
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director at the International Trade Centre said: “Youth must drive Africa’s transformation, growth and prosperity. At ITC, we are committed to supporting young Africans to take full advantage of the AfCFTA by providing tools to support entrepreneurship and job creation, and by working with partners to extend our reach and impact.”
Chairperson of ICOYACA Emolot Allan David added during the launch: “African youth are the drivers of Africa’s economic integration; and the AfCFTA Youth Day is positioning them to take charge of their own development by championing the implementation of the AfCFTA.”
Key recommendations outlining five key action areas identified by youth entrepreneurs will be submitted for consideration at the African Industrialization Week on the margins of the 35th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union from 20-26 November in Niamey, Niger.
The AfCFTA Youth Day event was held one year on the day after the launch of ICOYACA on the margins of the 2021 YouLead Africa Summit in Tanzania.