About 60% of Africa’s population consists of youths who are under the age of 25 which fact suggests that Africa is largely dominated by youths and can be termed the youngest continent in terms of population. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recognised the role of youths in trade and their importance in fostering global trade. Unfortunately, the youthful participation in intra-African is still low.
The AfCFTA will play an instrumental role in empowering youths in the continent.
There is a lot of potential in the youthful population which can be taken advantage of through the involvement of young people in cross border trade and trade governance matters. The youthful nature of the continent can be regarded as the biggest asset or resource of the continent, and it is quite disheartening that the youths suffer the most and hold a big chunk of the percentage of the high unemployment rate, poor quality jobs and difficulties in entering cross border trade. The AfCTA presents an opportunity for the African Continent to tap into its vast youthful resources.
The AFCFTA, if well implemented, will create more jobs for people across the continent and youths especially. Young entrepreneurs in Africa continue to face barriers when attempting to participate not just in Intra- African Trade, but international trade as well.
Some of the ways to improve youth empowerment in Africa and thus strengthen intra-African trade are:
1. Educating the Youth
For the AfCFTA Agreement to be termed as a success, educating the youth is key. It is important to keep youths who are interested in trading with the necessary information they require to enable them the take full advantage of the opportunities in the trade market.
2. Access to Finance
Access to finance is one of the major challenges African youths face. Loans are not usually given to young entrepreneurs because of lack of trust by some financial institutions. Some Financial Institutions do not believe in the proposals tendered by the youth or believe youths do not have the necessary assets to use as collateral. By giving loans to African Youths, it will go a long way in strengthening the African economy and the youth’s participation in intra-African trade.
3. Reduction in Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers
One of the objectives of the AFCFTA is the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers and if effectively implemented, this will further encourage Youths to carry out intra-African trade activities.
If all the aforementioned are successfully implemented, the AfCFTA will help in empowering the youths in Africa and assist in enabling Africa take full advantage of one of its most valuable resources which has been at its disposal for many years – the youths.
RECENT UPDATES ON THE AFCFTA
- Mrs Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Development has reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government in developing young Nigerian entrepreneurs. Read more HERE
- Siita Sofo Hassan, the President of the African Youth Entrepreneurs Federation (AFYEF) has called on young entrepreneurs in Africa to take advantage and enjoy the benefits of the AFCFTA. Read more HERE
- Dr. Nsengimana has called for quality standards in order for the AFCFTA to be deemed a success. Read more HERE.
- As different nations in Africa intensify their efforts to successfully implement the AfCFTA, Togo has already found a national strategy to boost its export to other African Countries. Read more HERE.
- The Nigerian Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has stated the Federal Government is working towards registering more employers’ associations, besides the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association. This is aimed at promoting the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and in preparation for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Read more HERE
- The President of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame stated that the AfCFTA could offer a much-needed solution to some of the food security challenges in the continent hence ending the continents reliance on food imports. Read more HERE.