Rwanda is this week hosting the Golden Business Forum, which has brought together key actors in Africa’s business community, industry experts and policymakers. Organised by the Private Sector Federation, the gathering aimed at, among others, collectively discussing sustainable and innovative solutions to prevailing economic challenges affecting the growth of the African continent. ALSO READ: Five things African countries can do to optimize AfCFTA During the three-day meeting, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) took centre stage, with several speakers emphasising that it was a key catalyst for the growth of the continent, which for several decades has been pejoratively referred to as ‘the sleeping giant’. Established in Kigali by African Union Heads of State in 2018, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area by number of member states, after the World Trade Organisation. ALSO READ: Rwandan goods can now access African markets duty-free While the political class and the technocrats continue to do their part to actualise this important deal, it is important to note that its implementation will mostly rely on the private sector. It is high time that the private sector across the continent strategised to optimise this opportunity to trade within and this will take a deliberate effort on their part. Regional integration communities should offer the necessary support to the private sector in this regard, especially building on what they have achieved. For instance, the East African Community, despite its challenges, has made great headway in addressing challenges to make intra-region trade work. ALSO READ: President Kagame to private sector: make AfCFTA work This experience, plus that from other blocs like COMESA for eastern and southern Africa, Ecowas for West Africa and SADC for southern Africa, is enough to help business communities across the continent to make AfCFTA work seamlessly. Beyond assenting to the agreement and putting in place the necessary legal framework, at least at the continental level, individual countries also have a duty to do away with any kind of impediments including protectionism, and other barriers. Another key aspect that needs to be urgently addressed if the business community is to benefit from the trade deal is the liberalisation of air travel to make it affordable. Currently, air travel, which is the most viable means of transport on the continent in the absence of reliable inter-state road infrastructure, remains the most expensive when compared to other parts of the world.