The Chief Executive Officer of the McDan Group of Companies, Dr Daniel McKorley, has stressed the crucial role of the private sector in the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
He, has, therefore called for swift and urgent action to ensure that private businesses lead the way in connecting the African economies through the AfCFTA.
Speaking during the launch of the 2024 Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) by the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) at the Africa Trade House, Dr McKorley expressed his belief that the private sector holds the key to unlocking the enormous potential of the AfCFTA. He emphasised the need for private businesses to actively participate in trade, manufacturing, and infrastructure development to facilitate seamless intra-African trade.
He said the AfCFTA presents an unprecedented opportunity for African businesses to expand their horizons and tap into the vast African market. However, for this agreement to succeed, he noted that it is imperative that the private sector assumes a leading role in connecting African countries swiftly.
He indicated that: “AfCFTA is set up for the private sector for businessmen but what he I have noticed is that a lot of businessmen on the continent don’t really know what’s really going on with the AfCFTA agreement”.
“McDan is trying to revive the Black Star Line, buy cargo planes etc. If you move a cargo from Ghana to Senegal, it had to go to Belgium, and if we joke with current happenings in the continent right now, thinking, the Chinese, Americans, Europeans are interested in what’s going on now with the AfCFTA, we lie, and AfCFTA will fail,” he asserted.
His hope is that the next billionaires in the world will come for Africa, and they would come Agric and extractive industries.
“We’re looking out for 1.4 billion people doing business together with 3.4 trillion dollars moving into the continent. Don’t joke with it. This is wealth creation. There’s something called sustainability; if we don’t hand over these to the private sector, or the private sector rescuing it from the hands of the politicians, this will not be successful,” he reiterated.
Dr McKorley highlighted the importance of investing in critical infrastructure such as transportation, logistics, and telecommunications to enable efficient trade flows across the continent. He called on African governments to create an enabling environment for private businesses to thrive, including providing necessary incentives and reducing bureaucratic barriers.
“The private sector has the agility, innovation, and resources to drive the connectivity required for effective trade under the AfCFTA. Governments must collaborate closely with businesses, listen to their needs, and work hand in hand to establish the infrastructure and policies that will facilitate seamless trade,” he indicated.
The McDan Group CEO also stressed the need for African businesses to focus on building strong regional partnerships and alliances to leverage each other’s strengths and overcome common challenges. He encouraged intra-African trade and investment, highlighting that it would foster economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction across the continent.
Dr McKorley also emphasised the significance of packaging and integrity in driving the success of African businesses. He said packaging played a pivotal role in attracting customers and creating a positive brand image. He highlighted the need for African businesses to invest in high-quality packaging that aligns with global standards, enhancing their competitiveness on the international stage.
He further emphasised the importance of integrity in business dealings. He underscored the need for African entrepreneurs to adhere to ethical principles, including transparency, honesty, and fairness, to build trust and foster long-term relationships with customers and partners.
He added that African businesses must prioritize integrity in all their interactions, ensuring that their actions align with their stated values.