Some industry leaders and influencers, as well as top executives spanning diverse sectors from the international community, have expressed unwavering enthusiasm for the Second Edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogue (APD 2024).
This came to light when the organiser of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) hosted a cocktail reception for partners and stakeholders at the KGL Group Office in Labone.
The APD will take place in Ghana at the Peduase Lodge in the Aburi Hills from Thursday, January 25 to Saturday January 27, 2024. It will be hosted by President Akufo-Addo under the theme “Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade”.
In his welcome address, the Executive Chairman of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, questioned the stark contrast in trading percentages between African nations and the European Union (EU). He regretted that less than 18% of trade occurs within the African continent, whereas the EU boasts trading figures exceeding 65 and 70%.
He asserted that the primary reason behind this glaring disparity lies in Africa’s inability to add substantial value to the commodities it trades in. He, therefore, urged African countries to explore avenues to enhance value addition within continent’s trade networks.
He emphasised the significance of this edition, stating, “We hope the APD Edition will be superior to the first, serving as a catalyst for heads of businesses to come together, think collectively, plan strategically, and collaborate closely with political leadership. Our aim is to translate these collaborative efforts into tangible steps towards realizing a single-market trade in Africa.”
The Executive Chairman of the APN called on Ghanaian businesses to, as a matter of priority, begin positioning themselves to take advantage of all the opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers.
Mr Otchere-Darko said Ghana, by virtue of hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat, is positioned as the “commercial centre” of the continent, and businesses in the country must leverage on all that.
He encouraged them to begin seeing their economic catchment area as continent-wide, rather than just national.
“We are building an integrated African economy. The political leaders have given us a framework. But, it is not the politicians who will do it, it is the private sector operating on this continent that will make it happen,” Mr Otchere-Darko stressed.
AfCFTA, APD partnership
The Chief of Staff at the AfCFTA Secretariat, Silver Ojakol, in a supporting statement on behalf of Wamkele Mene, the Secretary General of AfCFTA, described the AfCFTA Secretariat’s partnership with APN as a strategic one that will go a long way to influence the ability of the AfCFTA to deliver on the much-needed project of building the world’s largest single market in Africa.
“The theme for next year is: ‘Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade.’ It is very much aligned with the pillars that we [at AfCFTA] have developed from the policy perspective,” he said.
“The pillars of regional value chain development, value addition, increased production on the continent in order that we can trade more with each other, and the pillar of trading, even trading across our borders are all the focus.
He said the AfCFTA Secretariat is very much committed to ensuring that this process moves forward, and delivers prosperity for the continent. He, therefore, expressed excitement to be partners for the Africa Prosperity Dialogues.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a brief statement, urged the business community to look out for, and take full advantage of, the many brilliant ideas that will be shared at the 2024 APD. He also told them to endeavour to implement them for the benefit of the continent.
Building on the success of APD 2023, APD 2024 will offer an invaluable opportunity to engage private and public sectors, development finance Institutions, influential thought leaders, civil societies, and youth organizations in the process of syncing our economic priorities.
The Dialogues will also showcase flagship projects and initiatives that are both scalable and replicable, and are ready for financing and implementation with the objective of significantly enhancing trade and investment among African nations.
The Dialogues will bring into focus the continent’s critical challenges and priorities, with a key focus on bolstering value addition and infrastructural development, championing agriculture and food security, sustainable development of natural resources, and industrialization. Technology and financing play an essential role in Africa’s prosperity narrative.
The strategic objectives of APD 2024 are fourfold. First, it will facilitate a comprehensive dialogue that brings together key stakeholders from government, business, civil society, and academia to discuss and develop inclusive and realistic strategies for delivering prosperity in Africa.
Second, it will promote and strengthen regional and continental integration, particularly in the context of the AU Agenda 2063 and as a means to foster intra-Africa trade, economic growth, and prosperity.
Third is to prioritize the inclusion of marginalized populations, women, and youth in Africa’s development agenda and ensure that prosperity is truly inclusive, and lastly, “to provide a platform for sharing best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions that can be replicated across the continent”.
The other partners are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), United Nations Economic Forum for Africa (UNECA), Africa Business Council (AfBC), Africa America Institute (AAI), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), Africa Soft Power and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).