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It thus seems right to remind ourselves of a necessary sacrifice we must make as Africans, a reminder especially fit on a day like this, when we commemorate God Himself having sacrificed everything for humanity. This is an article about the necessary sacrifice we must make to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) becomes a successful reality post-COVID-19.
- It is a fact that the coronavirus will set many economies into recession. This is not good news but the opportunity therein is that; skill, labour, prudence and investment will be necessary for the rebuilding. The African youth will have to learn to collaborate beyond its imaginary borders and becomes the solution that builds the continent. The young entrepreneur must envisage a market of 1.2 billion in planning post-COVID-19 and not a population of about 30 million people as the case may be in Ghana. This requires new thinking and envisioning; one we must teach ourselves in these times.
- Payment system solutions and E-Business will continue to become relevant and with increasing scale post-COVID-19. The question of how do we pay people intra-Africa will require answers. Enabling business over the internet will become much more relevant after the pandemic. The young African can therefore not choose to be techy, he or she must explore the possibilities. The fields of payment systems and electronic business offer multiple unchartered disruptions and we must learn and enable our societies to grow. Digital can only grow and building skills set that understands these conversations will serve one well.
- Pursing cross boarder value chains must become an agenda. It is perhaps time to make LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook friends transcend one’s country. It is also time to build social capital and depth that can transform into business partnerships. African economies are built on raw material export and an informal commerce but it is time to think of integrating value across Africa with structured, replicable models.
- Standards and Certifications. These are the opportunity to define what is trustworthy. The narrative over the years of slavery and colonialism seems to have shifted the view of what is standard to what is western. The economies may be informal but it is not without wisdom and the young must build businesses around institutionalizing our way of life and business. The African youth needs to enter the fight at redefining standards and authenticity, bearing in mind context and good culture without following blindly, leapfrogging to nowhere.
- Education that is collaborative and intends to solve African problems must become our way of life. I am big on education and I represent a movement called, AfricaLearn. I truly believe development and growth are limited without a progressive meaningful education. It is time for the African youth to learn his history, understand her culture, the continent’s most pressing problems without assuming foreigners will be the little gifts from above wiping the tears off our eyes.
- Harmonizing Laws and Regulations. It is time for the young lawyer to focus on comparative legal study and how to harmonize at least the Lex Mercatoria. How do we aid merchants to trade in a common market must be a thinking in the mind of our jurist and legal minds.