29 January 2020
President Ramaphosa has called for cooperation between government and the private sector around a common African economic agenda.
The presidency revealed this in a statement following an interaction with business as part of preparations for South Africa to assume chairship of the African Union (AU) in February 2020.
The president called on the “South African business sector to form part of the collective national effort to advance the interests of the country and continent”.
According to the statement, the president also, during the meeting, welcomed the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) in July 2020 as a “historic moment and the opening of a new era for the continent”.
The AFCFTA seeks to create a single market for goods and services in Africa.
It also aims to set up a single rule book for trade and investment in Africa.
The agreement will facilitate larger economies of scale, a bigger market and improved prospects for the African continent to attract investment.
“Once in effect, the AfCFTA would constitute the largest common market in the world, composed of over 1 billion people and a combined GDP of more than US$3.3 trillion, and would help develop the type of inclusive development path that is essential to Africa’s long-term prosperity.”
Business was asked to increase intra-African investments focused on trade-enabling infrastructure and manufacturing capacity.
Speaking earlier at the South African Heads of Mission accredited to African Countries Conference in Johannesburg, the president declared that, as the chair of the AU, “South Africa is determined to take the project of continental unity, integration and development further, guided by our foreign policy priorities and the continent’s aspirations as espoused in Agenda 2063”.
Items on the agenda include the deepening of economic integration, the ease of doing business in different African countries, development of infrastructure between African countries, prevention of violence against women and girls, addressing discriminatory laws in African countries, the promotion of good governance and conflict resolution.