ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO, participated in a historic summit this week to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Convened by Africa investor (Ai), the Summit brought together the heads of global trade organisations and recognised the importance of pioneering partnerships and collaboration with the private sector and international organisations in restoring trade confidence and flows in the fight against COVID-19, and in building trade resilience in anticipation of future pandemics.
The importance of accelerating the adoption of African eTrade, Paperless Customs and RegTech innovation also featured highly on the agenda.
“We are delighted to partner with Africa investor,” Mr Denton said. “ICC remains committed to addressing issues impacting the private sector in Africa through pioneering collaboration and our growing presence and outreach on the continent.”
The Summit was Chaired by Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, African Union Continental Business Network (CBN). Participants included Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Vinco David, Secretary General, Berne Union and Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.
The Summit, which took place on 30 April, highlighted the urgent need for harmonised regulation to help the African private sector – in particular SME’s – to digitise their businesses, to be able to trade and compete in the ‘Post COVID-19 Contactless Economy’, where ‘Trade and Customs Distancing’ will be the new normal.
The African private sectors’ AfricaPLC Industrial eTrade Platform initiative was welcomed as a critical African eTrade and Finance enabler. The initiative is supported by ICC, Ai, DHL, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Standard Bank, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) Continental Business Network (CBN), ABSA and Trade Development Bank.
The virtual summit saw commitment from leaders to collaborate on a range of trade initiatives to combat COVID-19 and build trade resilience in Africa, in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).