Tomorrow, the much-awaited African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to be signed by the majority of member countries of the African Union.
It is an agreement that has been on the table for a few years with several stakeholders meeting occasionally to fine-tune the document that will help create a free market of over 1 billion people.
It is one of the biggest and most ambitious projects undertaken by the AU and is expected to create new possibilities. It is also one of the major pillars for continental integration. The signing will not only create one market for business and anyone who wants to invest in the continent, but it will also widen the market for raw materials among partner states.
However, as we had pointed out in these pages a while ago, there are some forces out there that are ready to do anything to scuttle the project. Most will be driven by the potential loss of financial influence and monopoly. But for others, it will be the “big brother” attitude.
African countries should look at the larger picture and not waste time stroking egos. Everyone comes to the table as equals.
Before the treaty was brought to the table, countries consulted internally to garner views of their people, it was not the AU’s mandate to go into each and every country and consult with every self-important NGO in order to get the nod.
The African Union has been held hostage for far too long, it is time it stood its ground for the good of the continent’s citizens.