By Teslim Olawore
The communication section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said that Nigeria is set to host the Africa Trade Forum 2018 in a statement posted on its website, adding that the forum would hold between November 2 and November 3 in Lagos.
It also said that the forum was being organised by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and co-organised by the ECA, The Rockefeller Foundation and the African Union Commission (AUC).
According to the commission, the forum will bring together stakeholders from across the continent, political and governance spheres, the private sector and entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academia, researchers and development partners. The statement added that the forum was aimed at discussing the process for realising the AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA that was signed in March 2018 by 44 African countries and if ratified, would become one of the world’s largest trading blocs. The agreement aims to provide improved competition and lower business costs among members.
The ECA said that the forum’s purpose was to take a deep look into the challenges and opportunities of the AfCFTA in individual African states. It is also to better understand how AfCFTA can drive economic development and prosperity on the continent for all African citizens.
The statement also quoted the Executive Secretary, ECA, Ms Vera Songwe as saying “in an age of trade wars, Africa is sending a strong message”.
“In order to ensure the AfCFTA has a game-changing impact on African economies, we must now develop clear strategies for product diversification and inclusive implementation,” she said.
Mr Mamadou Biteye, the Managing Director, Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation added that the foundation was delighted to support the ECA and AUC. He also said the forum was an opportunity to work together to address challenges, discuss solutions and increase awareness about the agreement’s ability to be a transformative tool that improves the lives of millions of Africans, especially the most vulnerable.