With barely two weeks left to the Extraordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State on December 5, 2020, ahead of the expected start of trading under AfCFTA on 1st January 2021, the AfCFTA Secretariat is pleased to announce AfCFTA Vision, an initiative in partnership with the Sankoree Institute, an affiliate of AfroChampions.

In addition to building a community of visionaries (the “AfCFTA Visioneers”) and creating a platform for knowledge creation and sharing to help accelerate the pace of implementation of AfCFTA, the initiative also creates room for entrepreneurial contests to find investable solutions that can propel AfCFTA to success with the backing of the continent’s development finance institutions. 

Major African DFIs and other visionary financial institutions such as TDB, Africa50, AfDB, AFC, Equity Bank, Ecobank and Afreximbank will serve as the institutional jury for the AfCFTA Vision Challenge.

Compelling solutions to challenges posed by some of Africa’s foremost political leaders, and analysed by leading continental thinkers, in 8 identified issue areas submitted ahead of the two deadlines of 30th November and 22nd December stand a chance of securing syndicated investment from these leading institutions.

Innovators and doers of all stripes, committed to the AfCFTA ideal, are therefore encouraged to submit their plans through the online portal (https://www.afcfta.blog/challenge). 

AfCFTA’s success shall however require more than brilliant solutions from Africa’s finest minds and doers. It shall require more intense connections among problem-solvers, infrastructure to bridge gaps and differences, and vast material resources. 

The role of the AfCFTA Secretariat is to coordinate capacity that already exists on the continent in order to generate the necessary momentum. Digital technology can play a critical role in this quest due to its levelling function and exponential network creation ability.

Above all, digital technology has become one of the most efficient ways to bring large but marginalised communities like Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), youth, women and the informal sector into the productive sectors of an integrated African company.

Thus, a major component of the AfCFTA Vision Initiative is a suite of apps (or, collectively, a “super-app”) that shall serve as the base for a continental business registry, trade directory, cross-border trade facilitation network, and a dashboard for the private sector to interact with the upcoming Africa Trade Observatory(for beta access, visit: www.afcfta.app). 

As an integral part of the AfCFTA Digital Strategy, and building on top of the AVRIVA (www.avriva.org) program developed to support the AU’s Open Corridor Initiative, the AfCFTA App offers a free “trusted identity” (known as the “AfCFTA Number”) to every AfCFTA Actor, as well as a range of complementary tools to discover opportunities made available to all economic actors throughout the continent in the wake of AfCFTA.

The partners are of the view that all the components of the AfCFTA Vision Initiative work seamlessly together to boost the chances of a spectacularly successful AfCFTA rollout. 

About AfCFTA Secretariat

The AfCFTA Secretariat is a creation of the AfCFTA Agreement tasked with the responsibility of coordinating the successful implementation of the Agreement. 

The Secretariat operates as an autonomous organ of the African Union charged with implementing the decisions of the higher organs of the body in respect of the wide array of areas covered by the Agreement, ranging from industrialisation to intellectual Property, and from trade in professional services to harmonisation of standards for manufactured goods.

About Sankoree Institute

An affiliate of the AfroChampions Initiative and other leading pan-African institutions, the Sankoree Institute brings together many of Africa’s most passionate and eminent leaders, thinkers, and doers to reimagine all the best paths to a strong, globally influential, integrated, and prosperous Africa.

Sankoree leads the charge in experimentation, exploration, prototyping and execution of the best ideas resulting from robust, rigorous, and action-oriented dialogue, analysis and design-thinking.