The Chamber & AfCFTA: Canada-Africa Free Trade Quarterly Forum Announced

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest free trade deal since the advent of the WTO.

The final stages are in place for a quarterly forum between The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and the AfCFTA leadership.

'I look forward to further partnership,' noted Mr. Mene, during his keynote remarks at Africa Accelerating 2020, a three-day summit live from venues in Toronto and Gaborone, in addition to nearly 1000 virtual delegates.

His Excellency Wamkele Mene, first Secretary General of the AfCFTA, thanked The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business for the opportunity to participate in the organization's deliberations - folllowing a first briefing earlier in the year.

'We know Canada can be a key player in a projected $3.4-trillion GDP free trade market,' says Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Chair of the Board at The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

'As our Chamber President Garreth Bloor noted, on returning from last African Union Extraordinary Summit in Niamey: the free trade deal is the culmination of decades of dreams for a more integrated continent; transcending old artificial borders imposed arbitrarily from the top-down by colonial powers'.

Mr. Spio-Garbrah added: 'Since taking the post as Chair of the Board in March last year, I have been delighted to meet leading Canadian CEOs, the Prime Minister, Ministers and Members of various parties and think tanks – all in an effort to ensure Canada is and remains Africa’s partner of choice.'

View S.G. Wamkele Mene's keynote address below, delivered on 31 October 2020.

Earlier this year we welcomed hundreds to a first briefing on the historic free trade deal, laying out the background and Canada's important contribution to the agreement.

Wamkele Mene highlighted the role of the people of Canada in the formation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, through technical knowledge-sharing and other areas of partnership - all while underscoring the importance of ongoing collaboration.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, MP Rob Oliphant, outlined Canada's commitment to African countries and some of the most recent initiatives.

Over 450 registered guests included representatives of the Canadian government, think tanks, business leaders, entrepreneurs and the African Group Heads of Mission in Ottawa.

The event was co-hosted with the High Commission of South Africa in Canada, represented by Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo. South Africa is the current chair of the African Union.

Special Session for Companies

Immediately following the free trade webinar the Chamber held a detailed session for Canadian investors, exporters and financiers in Africa's markets. This practical component for companies was be led by Deepak Dave, the Chamber’s East Africa Chapter Head.

Mr. Lumkile Mondi of the Gemfields Group also presented key business opportunities for energy, in the context of anticipated regulatory reform across African markets - in light of the requirements of the new free trade deal. 

Mr. Mondi and Mr. Dave remain open to any remaining questions from yesterday’s session. Please email garreth@canadaafrica.ca to post existing or new questions that were not covered yesterday, or to request a copy of Mr. Mondi's presentation. 

**Further background: Read more about the Chamber President's participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area deliberations, among civil society, at the African Union Summit in Niger last year.

We are once again pleased to have welcomed the participation of our partners:

           

Photo Credit: GhanaWeb Online

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