MSMEsToday, Nigeria’s latest online publication with focus on MSMEs in the agribusiness sector and BusinessDay, is collaborating to host the maiden edition of the National Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Conference 2021. The virtual conference which is slated to hold on Wednesday, April 28, is themed: ‘The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement as Economic Game Changer: Positioning MSMEs to Take the Lead.’
The AfCFTA was established in 2018 with the aim to create a single market for goods and services, facilitated by movement of persons to deepen the economic integration of the African continent, under the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”.
Economists and analysts are agreed that consolidating Africa into one trade area provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers across the continent and also has the chance to support sustainable development in the world’s least developed region.
According to the World Bank, The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. It is believed that the pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. This is humongous. Furthermore, it has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty.
It is important to note that achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy shift – reforms and trade facilitation measures, identifying linkages, partnerships and collaborations needed for its success. It is believed that since the global economy is heavily challenged and in turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that the creation of the vast AfCFTA regional market is a major opportunity to help African countries diversify their exports, accelerate growth, and attract foreign direct investment.
Therefore, since the key offerings of the AfCFTA are, creating market access for producers of goods and services, enhancing trade facilitation across Africa, improving production, employment and job creation, questions are: How do we turn the potentials inherent in the AfCFTA into profit through MSMEs in the agribusiness sector?
According to the organisers, the conference will also examine sub- themes on Expanding Funding to Increase Production, Processing and to attract the Youth Population, Digitizing the MSME ecosystem; Market Access through AfCFTA – Revisiting Export Trade, Trade Facilitation & Negotiation and the role of trade zones in turning the AfCFTA agreement into an economic game changer.
The conference will provide useful engagement platform for policy makers, economy managers, financial institutions, operators of free trade zones across the country; exporters and export consultants, technology experts, MSMEs in the agribusiness sector and consultants to meet and to elevate conversations on how to use MSMEs in the agribusiness sector and its value chain to milk the dividends of the AfCFTA agreement.
The objectives of the conference include: to design the roadmap and set the agenda for turning the potentials in the AfCFTA into profit, to position MSMEs in the agribusiness sector and its value chain to take the lead in this initiative; to understand the role a digitized MSME sector will play in achieving the full benefits of AfCFTA for Nigeria and to understand the role free trade zones will play in this initiative.
The conference targets policy makers, economy managers, financial institutions, operators of free trade zones across the country; exporters in the agriculture sector and export consultants, technology experts, technology companies, app developers, MSMEs in the agribusiness sector and agricultural equipment manufacturers and their representatives among others.
Participation at the conference is free, but interested participants must register to be able to attend. Visit www.msmestoday.com for more registration information.