Consistent with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the African Union Summit in 2012 decided on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) and fast-tracking the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA has the overarching aim of creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, paving the way for accelerating the establishment of the continental Customs Union. Ninety-eight percent of member states have so far signed the AfCFTA with 27 African countries ratifying the agreement and bringing it into force. With the completion of the phase 1 (trade in services based on five priority areas namely: Transport, Communication, Financial Services, Tourism and Business Services), attention has been shifted to phase 2 (investments, competition policy and intellectual property rights). At a time when the world is moving apart, Africa is getting closer and integrating faster. It is perhaps the biggest single intervention on the continent and with a combined population of 1.2 billion (projected to reach 1.4 billion by 2040) and a combined GDP of USD 3 trillion, it is perhaps the world’s largest Free Trade Area with commercial significance, second only to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in terms of the number of Member States. Africa can negotiate from position of strength with the rest of the world and improve terms of trade going forward. More importantly, it overcomes the historic fragmentation and isolation of her economies as well as ending the cycle of exporting raw material only to re-import them after value addition. Greater economic transformation hinged on productivity growth, consumption and income growth on the continent are anchored on the theories of comparative advantage and economies of scale. That said, AfCFTA must work for the common good (narrow the rising inequality on the continent) and not tiny Africans (Africa 4 Africa) and serious effort must be garnered to overcome both tariff and non-tariff barriers whilst avoiding race to the bottom in competing for foreign direct investment and other ‘pull him down’ syndrome.
Optimizing AfCFTA for Africa requires addressing both hard and soft infrastructure deficits in anchoring greater reforms to boost intraregional trade with far reaching implications for tertiary education. African universities must play a pivotal role in training graduates ready to take up the challenge and opportunities AfCFTA offers. Scaling up labour productivity informed by appropriate skill set in upskilling and reskilling and consistent with the Fourth Industrial Revolution predicated on network readiness will be critical. This must be supported by cutting-edge research to guide implementation and reforms going forward. It requires closer collaboration between African universities and AfCFTA implementation protocols agencies and stakeholders. Reforms must be informed by empirical evidence that is relevant for the continent.
It is in this light that the Association of African Universities (AAU), the apex higher education body in Africa, is creating a common platform through its webinar series for academics and education stakeholders to dialogue and map out strategies to support the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The objectives of the webinar are to:
INFORMATION ON THE WEBINAR PRESENTATION
Date: Monday, 25th November 2019
Target Audience: This webinar is open to all higher education stakeholders (academics, researchers, students etc.), development partners, industry players, government officials and policy makers in Africa.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
For any further information, kindly contact +233-243298464 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Policy Webinar series is made possible by the financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Professor Godfred A. Bokpin is an Economist and Professor of Finance. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics from the Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University in Japan, Master of Philosophy Degree in Finance and B.Sc. (Admin) in Accounting with First Class Honours from the University of Ghana. Professor Bokpin combines three broad disciplines of accounting, finance and economics and the interrelations between them in his teaching and research that uniquely distinguishes his output. He was the Head, Department of Finance, University of Ghana Business School from August 2014 to July 2018. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 2010 after his two-year probation in the University, Associate Professor of Finance in 2015 and Professor in 2018. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including financial management, strategic corporate finance, sustainable finance, renewable energy finance, responsible investment, green banking, inclusive growth, sustainable development, green economy, development economics, climate financing, green bonds. In the last five years, his research and advocacy has focused more on pro-poor programs, inclusive growth, sustainable development, inequality and climate change issues. He has over 40 articles in high impact journals in addition to edited conference proceedings, edited books, and book chapters to his credit.
He has extensive experience consulting for industry, Civil Society Organizations, and government institutions. His partial clients include UBA Ghana, African Development Bank (AfDB), Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Kenya, SEND Ghana, Civil Society Platform on the IMF Program in Ghana (now Economic Governance Platform), Ghana Integrity Initiative, Oxfam, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, USAID, UNDP, UN Human Settlement Program (UN-HABITAT) etc. He has in recognition of his research on global issues received invitation to the IMF-World Bank 2017 annual meetings in Washington, USA and also appeared on a number of local and international platforms including Joy FM, Citi FM, BBC, Blomberg, Economist, Financial Times etc. He works well with the youth and regularly interacts with the youth. Professor Bokpin enjoys studying the Bible and preaching the gospel in the rural areas. After first degree in Accounting, Masters in Finance and PhD in Economics, he believes the only knowledge that transforms and saves from eternal destruction is the Knowledge of the Son of God (Jesus Christ)
Webinar Moderator – Kwesi Acquah Sam
Association of African Universities
Policy Webinar Series 2019