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African heads of state to participate in maiden edition of Africa Prosperity Dialogues

Dr Eugene Owusu is the executive director of the Africa Prosperity Networks Secretariat and special advisor to the president on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Eugene Owusu is the executive director of the Africa Prosperity Networks Secretariat and special advisor to the president on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

African heads of state are set to participate in the maiden series of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues, which is expected to take place in Ghana from 26 to 28 January 2023, as the organiser of the summit, the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), has confirmed.

President Akufo-Addo has invited colleague heads of state from across the continent to the summit.

The event organisers say that many high-profile business executives from across Africa have confirmed their participation. They include personalities from such countries as Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

The theme for the conference, dubbed the “Kwahu Summit”, is “AfCFTA: From Ambition to Action – Delivering Prosperity through Continental Trade”.

Two-part summit

Addressing a pre-summit press conference in Accra today (11 January 2023) at the State House SDGs Advisory Unit, Dr Eugene Owusu (the executive director and co-ordinator of the Kwahu Summit Secretariat and special advisor to the president on the Sustainable Development Goals), said the choice of theme for the summit “reflects the tremendous opportunities that the AfCFTA presents for deepening intra-African trade and for advancing prosperity of the continent overall”.

“The Dialogue will be in two parts as follows: 26-27 January – the Business and Policy Leaders’ Dialogue that will take place at the Safari Valley Resort at Adukrom in the Akuapem Hills; [followed by] 28 January – the Presidential and Business Leaders’ Summit that will be held at the Peduase Presidential Lodge.

“The Business and Policy Leaders’ Dialogue will bring together business executives, trade associations, ministers of state, heads of Regional Economic Communities under the AU, technocrats, women, young entrepreneurs and thought leaders to define practical ‘quick wins’ to move the AfCFTA initiative from ambition to action,” Dr Owusu told reporters.

Unleashing AfCFTA’s potential

In his statement, Dr Owusu observed: “The key areas that are critical to unleash the potential of the AfCFTA include the following: enhancing productive capacity such as transportation, agriculture and energy; finance, technology and innovation (including especially payment systems); critical legal and institutional constraints to the actualisation of the single African market and free movement of people across borders.

“The Presidential and Business Leaders’ Summit that will take place on 28 January will be a high-level round-table dialogue between selected African heads of state and business and industry leaders.

“It is expected to culminate in the adoption of a compact between the heads of state and the business leaders, with an actionable roadmap and metrics for measuring progress,” Dr Owusu said.

Targeted objectives

Touching on what the organisers seek to achieve with the maiden Africa Prosperity Dialogues, Dr Owusu, noted, “In addition to the compact, it is APN’s hope that the maiden dialogue will help create greater awareness of the AfCFTA, enhance its inclusive implementation, and offer a platform for Africa’s political and business leaders to achieve alignment on how to accelerate and deepen trade on the continent.”

Organisers also anticipate that the summit will help in the “sharing of best practices and, importantly, practical actions to expedite the movement of people, goods and services across the continent as envisaged under the AfCFTA”.

They also hope that it will foster stronger strategic partnerships between industry leaders and heads of state on specific transformational projects that will accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Continental progress

Dr Owusu said the African Continental Free Trade Area “has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation drive, and we believe the initiative holds the key to the prosperity of the continent”.

“We are talking about a market of 1.3 billion people, with a combined market size of $2.2 trillion. The benefits of success are huge, including an estimated income gain of about $450 billion, [with] the potential to lift an estimated 30 million people from extreme poverty.

“We must leverage the AfCFTA to unleash the full potential of this continent and to change the narrative about Africa,” Dr Owusu said. “It is our hope that the maiden Kwahu Summit will help define concrete, strategic actions by political and business leaders across the continent, including the right mix of policies.

“We also do hope that the summit will foster a greater sense of purpose for more robust intra-African trade to happen, to support the much-needed industrialisation of the continent which is so critical for the prosperity of all Africans,” he said.

Wilberforce Asare

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