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African Think Tanks Summit kicks off

19 Nov, 2020

The 7th Africa Think Tank Summit organized by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has kicked off amid calls for increased funding of African Think Tanks for the continent to draw value from their expertise.

ACBF is the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development.

The two-day virtual summit being conducted from 18 to 19 November 2020 is running under the theme: “Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement: Assessing Country Readiness and the Implications for Capacity Building.”

Officially opening the summit today, ACBF Executive Secretary, Professor Emmanuel NNADOZIE said the AfCFTA represented a major opportunity to help African countries diversify their exports, accelerate growth, increase intra-African trade, attract foreign direct investment, create jobs through value addition and to build back better.

Trading under the AfCFTA is now scheduled for 1 January 2021 having been postponed from 1 July 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is therefore, a need to find solutions to put the AfCFTA back on track, to accelerate its implementation and to deliver on the promises. Hence the aim of the Summit is to provide a platform for African Think Tanks and other key stakeholders to engage in a high-level deliberation on the most effective ways of addressing the capacity challenges facing the implementation of the AfCFTA to accelerate its implementation and enhance country readiness in implementing and benefiting from the Agreement, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prof. NNADOZIE.

In his remarks Professor Benedict Okey ORAMAH; President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Afreximbank, represented by  Dr Hippolyte FOFACK; Chief Economist and Director, Research & International Cooperation Department at Afreximbank said the AfCFTA had the potential to transform African economies and boost intra-African trade.

Professor Kevin Chika URAMA, Senior Director  at  the African Development Institute of the African Development Bank Group said the Think Tank Summit had come at an opportune time when the African continent is in the process of coming up with policies to achieve growth and “build back better post COVID-19.”

“This is a clarion call for Africa to accelerate the implementation of this agreement to be able to achieve the great implications of trade for development, said Prof. Urama.

The Summit is discussing various topics, among them: Understanding the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for making AfCFTA a reality, exploring the critical determinants of country readiness in implementing the AfCFTA, identifying key capacity issues facing the implementation of the AfCFTA at the continental and country levels, building the capacity of frontline state actors and institutions to effectively drive the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The other topics are; building the capacity of SMEs as a driving force for success in the implementation of the AfCFTA, the role of Think Tanks in supporting the implementation of the AfCFTA and establishing partnerships and coordination mechanisms to enhance country readiness.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana