Speaking of millions of millionaires, I am not tone-deaf to the billions of people currently suffering from the harsh economic effects of this pandemic. I am merely recognising the fact that I can almost confidently say that you reading this article right now is into some form of “business”, or at least you have seriously thought of it. Looking at the current times, who hasn’t? This pandemic has transformed everyone into businesspeople. Selling at a slightly higher price than you buy is the simplest form of “business” that a lot of people are looking to do to make up for lost income. The technical word for that is TRADE. Everyone’s a trader now. From selling facemasks to peddling mansions at “giveaway prices”, everybody seems hot. There’s massive interest now in generating alternative income now. Even the well-educated and well-to-do are adopting the hustler’s attitude. That’s a great thing! It is the recognition of this fact, coupled with the pan-African side of me that lead me to say that if people come to understand the utility of an African Continental Free Trade Area, they will make millions of it! Of course, the complexities of setting up the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is largely understated if you go by what you’ll read in this article. All things get quickly complicated in the geopolitical landscape. AfCFTA presents the idea of creating an infrastructure to support intra-African trade and economic collaboration. This article is about the glorification of that idea, and will say nothing about the efficacy of its execution. So don’t shoot the messenger. It’s really hard not to support the idea of being able to seamlessly trade next door as opposed to overseas. Initiatives like AfCFTA identify the need to promote entrepreneurial capitalism within Africa as an escape from suffering. If properly marketed and if information dissemination efforts prove effective, I can see how many Africans will transform into business tycoons, in time. Let’s take a look at China. China has become the country with the most number of millionaires, with 4.4 million millionaires. When I first read about this late last year, I wondered how a communist country can rake up such a statistic. If we will all admit, the word “communist” doesn’t readily ginger up sentiments of individual riches. But as the facts currently stand, 100 million Chinese citizens make up the top 10% of the richest people in the world.
THINK ABOUT IT: even a communist country like China must release a big enough dose of capitalism to fuel their campaign of being a powerful world market economy. Supply and demand has always been simple to understand but without the supporting infrastructure, you end up having an Africa that has all the supply but she exports way too much out of the continent when the demand can be met within ourselves, evidenced by importing way too much as well.African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could create millions of African Millionaires.” I don’t think Ama the Instagram slayqueen is aware that the crochet top she’s pushing on Facebook to Ghanaians has 50 million potential customers in Nigeria that she can very easily sell to when AfCFTA is implemented. Public education on AfCFTA and support for the initiative is important. Granted, the mention of “open market” brings with it the usual concerns but these concerns with AfCFTA have been seen before. Towards the end of the 1980’s, when the European Commission needed to convince member states and their citizens to accept their Single Market Programme, it was not an easy task. There were some countries that were concerned about opening up their markets, not too unlike Nigeria’s brief hesitation to join AfCFTA. To curb the fears and concerns for the Single Market Programme, Researchers in Europe published in 1988 what would later become “The Cecchini Report”, a detailed research into the cost of “Non-Europe”, putting a value on what’s actually at stake. This Report opened the eyes of critics and became the foundation and intellectual debate for a united Europe in commerce, paving the way for the Single Market Program being implemented on January 1st, 1993. You can make the case of increased competition from open markets dampening the chances of local markets to thrive, but a cup half empty is always half full as well. Open markets have bigger market sizes and thus create a greater chance of easy expansion and wealth acquisition for many people. It is now ever more critical that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expedited. COVID-19 continues to shrink the projected GDP’s of African countries. The fall in global demand would mean an accompanying drop in the export of African commodities to foreign markets. Exploring intra-African trade should be a no-brainer at this point. With an expedited AfCFTA implementation should come a clear path to the smooth import and export of the very necessary medical and pharmaceutical products, along with food and agricultural commodities as well. The pandemic has delayed the scheduled commencement of trade, previously scheduled for July 1st 2020. Seeing how COVID-19 looks to worsen Africa’s economic standing, AfCFTA just might be the timely solution, during and after this pandemic is beaten. You always hear about the American Dream, of how Oprah started with nothing and rose to icon status, raking in billions in the process; of how Obama started from community work in his neighbourhood to President of the United States of America. The American Dream basically dictates that if you walk a path in America, the horizon is your limit because nothing is impossible for all; if you can sell a hundred, you can sell a billion. That is what I see the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) doing, a sort of African Dream for the inherently capitalist inhabitants of our beautiful continent. [email protected] Mobile: 0249993319]]>