African Union Commemorates African Integration Day 2023 with Focus on Job Creation and AfCFTA Implementation


Secretary General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA, H.E. Wamkele Mene. Image from Twitter/@AfCFTA

Today, the African Union, led by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade, Industry, Mining (ETTIM), is marking African Integration Day 2023 under the theme “Accelerating Job Creation, Digital and Financial Inclusion in the AfCFTA market.” This annual event, designated on the 7th of July each year since 2019, celebrates achievements in regional and continental integration while addressing the challenges faced.

On 7th July we commemorate #AfricanIntegration Day to focus on the regional and continental integration agenda. The commemoration in 2023 will focus on “Accelerating #JobCreation, #Digital and #FinancialInclusion in the #AfCFTA market.” #Agenda2063. As posted on Twitter/@_AfricanUnion

The African Integration Day holds special significance as it aligns with the continent’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals set forth in the Abuja Treaty (1991). The treaty outlines a six-stage plan to establish an African Economic Community, including the creation of regional free trade areas and a continental Customs Union. The recent milestone of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which commenced trading on January 1, 2021, marked a significant step towards this integration goal.

Despite the progress made, challenges remain in achieving the objectives of the Abuja Treaty. The African Union recognizes the need to enhance public understanding and ownership of the regional integration process. Therefore, this year’s African Integration Day focuses on using integration, particularly the AfCFTA, as a catalyst for economic recovery, job creation, and shared prosperity.

The AfCFTA, the world’s largest free trade area, brings together 55 African Union member countries and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs). With a population of approximately 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of about US$3.4 trillion, the AfCFTA aims to eliminate trade barriers, boost intra-Africa trade, and establish regional value chains.

As part of the commemoration, the African Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the AeTrade Group will unveil the Smart Finance and Digital Banking Initiative. This initiative, endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in February 2022, aims to provide tools and mechanisms to support the acceleration of intra-African trade under the AfCFTA. The event will also include exhibitions showcasing job creation initiatives and provide a platform for dialogue between the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat and African citizens.

As a platform for engagement, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, reinforcing the commitment to regional integration and job creation in Africa, the three-day event will bring together policymakers, private sector representatives, civil society, and other stakeholders to discuss challenges and practical solutions for regional and continental integration. It also aims foster citizens’ participation, celebrate progress in integration efforts, and reflect on lessons learned, in alignment with the continent’s long-term vision outlined in “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want,” working towards an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.

The African Union seeks to achieve a consensus on job creation policies and establish collaboration relationships among stakeholders to address emerging issues and opportunities in the green economy. The event aims to enhance cooperation and partnership between innovators, development partners, public and private sectors, and other stakeholders to tackle the complex challenge of job creation. Additionally, the African Integration Day will contribute to the establishment of monitoring mechanisms for jobs across the continent.

As Africa advances its industrialization agenda, policymakers emphasize the need to address key structural bottlenecks, such as energy and infrastructure, and improve business and regulatory regimes. Success in industrialization is crucial for economic growth, diversification, and the achievement of sustainable development goals.




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