The CEO of IFC, Philippe Le Houerou, said that while visionary leadership is key for economic integration of Africa, pragmatism is equally important.”Africa needs 1.7 million new jobs every month. The only way to do it is to develop a striving and competitive sector enabled by free trade and opportunities across the conti-nent. We therefore need visionaries, new markets and pragmatists.”
During the first panel of the day, key business and political leaders addressed challenges associated with intra Africa trade. Ethiopia President Sahle-Work Zewde said that; “As much as we concentrate on political issues, as a region we all have the same bold ambition which is for our countries to make constant progress but it can’t be done without peace and security.”
According to Carlos Lopes, Honorary Professor, University of Cape Town, it takes up to 700 hours to process trade documents in some African states. “Where is the urgency to reduce this?” he questioned, adding that; “The cost of transportation from one country to another country is really brutal.
“It takes much more to transport good from Rwanda to Mombasa than it costs from Mombasa to China. We have done very well as a continent and economic region in terms of the time it took to sign AfCFTA, com-pared to other regions in the world that took on average 10 years to concretize such trade treaties.”