The Co-founder and Managing Partner at International Consultancy firm, Konfidants, Michael Kottoh, has emphasized the need for African governments to put in place measures to rapidly scale up the production capacity of African businesses through partnerships.
According to him, the COVID-19 crisis has ushered in an even more urgent need for such a transition as current structural changes in global trade have significant implications for Africa’s developmental ambitions.
As the ongoing coronavirus crisis has made the world exceptionally aware of the wide-ranging outcomes of interdependent global trade, producers are looking for a way to protect their commodities and craft coordinated responses for future economic shocks.
Speaking on the Citi Business Festival Virtual Forum on the topic; ‘Understanding the AfCFTA and the opportunities for your business’, Mr. Kottoh explained that this must be done to ensure that companies from countries like China and India, do not become lead producers of goods under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“COVID-19 has presented the opportunity for localizing what we currently import. For now, no business has what it takes in terms of the resource mobilization and deployment of execution that is required to be able to take advantage of these opportunities within this short period. Therefore, we need to think about partnerships because it is a resource. It is not an option.”
He added that “One can only take care of a few opportunities now. If the restrictions seize and global supply chains rebound, we don’t have a chance because we can’t compete with the scale of production and appraising, but if we can merge forces locally, we have a better opportunity,” he said.
He further called on businesses to think about these opportunities created by the pandemic as a temporary disruption in global supply chains and act aggressively to fill in the gap created.
“There is a temporary window of opportunity that has been created and it is important for businesses to understand that you need to move quickly because gradually the global economy is getting back on stream. Businesses have got to be aggressive and think about things very comprehensively,” he added.
The AfCFTA Agreement seeks to create a single market of 1.27 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP between US $2.1 and $3.4 trillion.
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