Professor Joshua Y. Abor, from the Department of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) has advocated the need for having an effective collaboration between the private sector, academia, and the African diaspora community for the successful rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He made this proposal during a presentation at the 2021 Virtual African Academia Diaspora Homecoming event, which took place from the 27th to 29th September 2021.
Speaking on the sub-theme “Rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area: Implications for Academia-Private Sector-Diaspora Collaborations”, Professor Abor suggested that to ensure proper coordination, the implementation of AfCFTA should be aligned with areas of priority to African countries. These areas include industrialization, infrastructure, and agricultural development.
Commenting on the strategic objective of AfCFTA, which is to creates a single market for goods and services that facilitate free movement of people across Africa, Professor Abor indicated that the private sector must increase awareness about AfCFTA. He added that there is an advantage in partnering alongside other businesses and joint ventures with overseas businesses. “Trade associations must communicate the potential benefits of the AfCFTA to local businesses,” he said.
“The private sector, made of captains of the industry and experienced entrepreneurs, should lead businesses to invest into tradable areas to increase export revenue. We can talk about entrepreneurship and business development, but if we are focusing on AfCFTA, then we should be thinking of investing and promoting businesses that will produce goods and services which can be exported,” Prof. Abor reiterated.
Furthermore, the Professor of Finance, who is also a member of the Policy & Advocacy Advisory Committee of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, stressed the need for policies to attract the African Diaspora resources to improve upon African economies. He further added that these members in the diaspora, should be given a role in fostering trade and investment amongst the African member nations. The AfCFTA offers a wealth of opportunities for the African Diaspora community and those interested in doing business in the continent.
Concluding his session, Professor Joshua Y. Abor disclosed that remittance flows to low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) reached a high record of US$529 billion in 2018. Again, in the same year, remittances to LMICs were about three times the size of aid receipts and about as high as Foreign Direct in-Flows (FDI).
The event ended with other guest speakers sharing their sub-themes at the event, with the audience also expressing their views on their presentations.
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