The AfroChampions Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to galvanize African resources to further drive the continent’s economic integration, has formally launched a private sector investment framework to secure financing for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The framework was launched at a high-level meeting convened in partnership with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana. The affair brought together investors, financing institutions and sovereign and private funds.
The objective is to mobilize the private sector, in Africa and beyond, through a dedicated blended-finance vehicle to accelerate the continent’s economic integration, by rapidly deploying those infrastructure projects which are critical to successfully delivering the AfCFTA and making it a positive transformation for Africans.
The proposed framework is forward-looking and include proposals from the AfroChampions Boma on Infrastructure Financing and Delivery organized last April in Nairobi with the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Mr. Raila Odinga.
Considering that key enablers of the AfCFTA are the removal of non-tariff barriers, the deployment of transport and connectivity networks, access to cheap energy, and African economies’ upscaling towards more value-added products, the framework defines a range of priority opportunities as well as structuring projects to be financed, under certain conditions, by the fund set up for that purpose.
The AfroChampions Initiative also provides for an annual benchmarking process to follow up on this program as well as on national reforms transcribing the AfCFTA to improve African states’ cross-border business-readiness.
“With the AfroChampions Initiative, we have found partners committed to our vision of a prosperous and integrated Africa and working to implement practical solutions,” said H.E.M. Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry.
“The African Union’s Summit in Niamey gave us a great opportunity to raise awareness among Heads of State and we hope to be able to move quickly on this ambitious roadmap,” he added.
“To address reluctance and concerns about the AfCFTA, we must demonstrate that it is a major and tangible opportunity for all stakeholders, whether states or companies regardless of size, civil society or individual citizens of the African continent. And this AfCFTA Private Sector Investment and Financing Framework is the best tool for realising that goal,” said Ali Mufuruki, Vice-President of the AfroChampions Club for the East Africa Region.
“We need to work better together across borders and focus on high-impact regional or pan-African projects – because they are the most likely to attract the volume of funds that we need. This is our main challenge today,” he concluded.