The AfDB was represented by Shem Simuyemba, Chief Infrastructure
Economist and Regional Integration Expert. He observed that the Bank was
driving efforts to help address one of Africa's most critical challenges, which
is inadequate infrastructure to support Africa's trade, economic integration
In 2014, the Bank invested US $6.7 billion out of which 60% was in
infrastructure. The bulk of these funds was in power generation and
interconnectors in order to enhance power trade across Africa. "The Bank's
interventions were intended to create the necessary economic infrastructure to
reduce the cost of doing business, and enhance the competitiveness of Africa's
intra-regional as well as international trade," Simuyemba said.
Patrick McGee of the World Economic Forum informed participants that
"this is the start of series of public-private sector consultations on key
issues on Africa's development such as the pan-African CFTA leading to the WEF
Africa Forum to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 3-5, 2015."
Panelists were unanimous that the CFTA should not just be about trade in
goods, but also address issues of trade in services, movement of skills across
Africa and more importantly, industrialization, which should be a key pillar of
Africa's trade strategy.
A number of key measures to support the CTFA were cited. These included
new generation institutions such as an African competition commission; a
continental arbitration mechanism; protection of intellectual property rights,
and entrepreneur development and incentives with a special focus on young
entrepreneurs. Also, local content development to support African businesses to
be anchored onto and benefit from major investments taking place across the
continent particularly in infrastructure was mentioned as another possible
solution. The need to enhance science, technology and innovation, deepening of
financial markets to make is possible for Africans to invest across Africa, as
well as harnessing the knowledge economy to improve technology and innovation
also emerged as critical solutions.
Apart from AfDB, other participants of the roundtable discussion were
Babajide Sodipo, Regional Trade Advisor at the African Union Commission: Rajesh
Shah of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), who is also a member of the Kenya
Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA); and Richard Kiplagat, Chief Operating Officer of
the consulting firm, africapractice.