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Africa Day: AU is “world’s biggest social experiment” – interview

Africa Day: AU is “world’s biggest social experiment” – interview

AFRICA Day, celebrated annually on May 25, marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, now the African Union (AU). Ebba Kalondo, is the Spokesperson for the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission. Her background is in international journalism and development, with a strong focus on the security and humanitarian sectors. She has held leadership roles at the World Health Organization, Fondation Hirondelle, France24, and Reuters. Q: If this was a superhero origin story, what was the AU created to fight, and how has that fight evolved over the years? A: The AU's story begins with…
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AGOA-AfCFTA to offer a trade highway to the US until 2041

AGOA-AfCFTA to offer a trade highway to the US until 2041

FORTY African nations could have duty-free access to U.S. markets until 2041, as Congress considers a bipartisan bill extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and James Risch (R-Idaho) tabled a revised AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 in Congress, which now explicitly integrates it with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This alignment incentivises more African countries to join the regional trade agreement by linking AGOA's trade benefits directly to membership. "The President is authorized to designate a country as an eligible AfCFTA country if — that country has signed and ratified…
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‘Made in Africa’ gets a boost as cross-border trade gathers pace

‘Made in Africa’ gets a boost as cross-border trade gathers pace

AFRICAN leaders are beginning a push for increased consumer consciousness of ‘Made in Africa’ products as cross-border trade opens new opportunities for economic growth. Inaugurating South Africa’s first trade shipments under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), President Cyril Ramaphosa urged over 12 African trade ministers attending the 13th AfCFTA Council of Ministers meeting in Durban, to bolden their push for trade in African goods. President Ramaphosa personally emphasized his interest in knowing where everything he uses is made. "I have started looking at everything that I either wear or pick up, I always want to know where it…
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Africa-US trade programme needs at least 10-year extension, AU says

Africa-US trade programme needs at least 10-year extension, AU says

AFRICA wants the U.S. Congress to renew its flagship trade programme for the continent for at least 10 years, the African Union's top trade official said on Thursday, adding that any modifications to the initiative should only be considered later. Speaking at the start of three days of meetings of African trade ministers and U.S. officials, AU Trade Commissioner Albert Muchanga also said the United States will not be granted tariff-free access to a new African free trade area. First launched in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) grants exports from qualifying African countries duty-free access to the United States…
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Kenya greenlights visits from all Africans in push for unhindered continental travel

Kenya greenlights visits from all Africans in push for unhindered continental travel

BARRIER-FREE travel in Africa has received fresh impetus after Kenya vowed to abolish visa requirements for all Africans by 2023. President William Ruto, championing the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), asserted that visa barriers hold Africans back. “By the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya,” he said. Kenya, a part of the East African Community (EAC), has already implemented a common market protocol that allows free movement of goods, services, capital and people among EAC members. By extending visa-free access to all African countries, Kenya hopes to…
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Passport to Prosperity: Dangote touts visa-on-arrival regime to boost AfCFTA

Passport to Prosperity: Dangote touts visa-on-arrival regime to boost AfCFTA

NIGERIAN business magnate Aliko Dangote is touting seamless mobility for Africans as a panacea for the sluggish adoption of the fledging African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Dangote made the proposal during a panel discussion at the ongoing 30th Afreximbank Annual Meetings in Accra, Ghana. "I think what, maybe, African countries need to do is that, why don't you give Africans visas on arrival that will facilitate trade?" Dangote suggested, throwing light on the current cumbersome visa processes that often hinder intra-African business endeavours. His sentiments come as African states, especially the smallest ones, are liberalising travel requirements, indicating a…
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AfCFTA gets real after a pandemic-induced lull

AfCFTA gets real after a pandemic-induced lull

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY KENYA’S recent twin shipment of batteries and tea to Ghana –– the first from an East African economy under AfCTFA –– has injected fresh impetus into the fledgling free trade outfit. They also underscore the importance of the trade area to export receipts amid biting global supply chain disruptions. The shipments are a part of a trial phase to ramp up trade under AfCFTA involving Kenya, Ghana and six other states: Cameroon, Egypt, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia. Last week, AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene revealed that at least 96 different products from the eight countries…
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African businesses power above media pessimism

African businesses power above media pessimism

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY AFRICA remains a growth market for business despite skewed media coverage that often overlooks the economic progress being made on the continent, according to the new report. The Africa No Filter (ANF) study shows that narratives about business in Africa are dangerously distorted and ignore the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative force driving a continental economy. “There is an overemphasis on the role of governments, foreign powers and larger African states alongside an underappreciation of the role of young people, women, entrepreneurs, creative businesses, smaller successful African states and Africa’s future potential,” reads the study, dubbed…
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Equatorial Guinea gives AfCFTA new impetus with gas shipment

Equatorial Guinea gives AfCFTA new impetus with gas shipment

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD EQUATORIAL Guinea has made its first shipment of goods to Gabon under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), giving fresh impetus to the trade pact. Guinea shipped 2,000MT methanol to Gabon, illustrating that countries are keen to take advantage of the free trade pathway to boost their export receipts. It further shows that African states can leverage the free trade outfit to trade with each other as the COVID-19 pandemic continue to disrupt international supply chains. Africa Energy Chamber said in a statement that the upcoming Africa Energy Week in November would build on this momentum…
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To build back better, make African trade greener

To build back better, make African trade greener

DAVID LUKE and LILY SOMMER BROAD consensus is emerging around the silver-lining opportunity to “build back better” from the COVID-19 crisis by creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies. But in the broader context of climate change, what does this mean for Africa, which produces just 2-3% of global carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industrial processes?  In building back better, Africa can take strategic advantage of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to advance the green transition agenda. Covering goods, services, investment, competition policy, intellectual property rights and e-commerce, AfCFTA offers several pathways forward for Africa.…
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