Towards an AfroChampions fund to finance the AfCFTA

AfroChampionsThe AfroChampions Initiative has launched a private sector investment framework to secure financing for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

This has been launched on the occasion of a high-level meeting convened in partnership with Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice-president of Ghana, and bringing together investors, financing institutions and sovereign and private funds.

The objective is to mobilise the private sector, in Africa and beyond, through a dedicated blended-finance vehicle to accelerate the continent's economic integration, by rapidly deploying those infrastructure projects which are critical to successfully delivering the AfCFTA and making it a positive transformation for Africans.

The proposed framework is forward-looking and includes many proposals from the AfroChampions Boma on Infrastructure Financing and Delivery organised last April in Nairobi with the African Union’s high representative for infrastructure Raila Odinga.

Considering that major enablers of the AfCFTA are the removal of non-tariff barriers, the deployment of transport and connectivity networks, access to cheap energy and African economies’ upscaling towards more value-added products, the framework defines a range of priority opportunities as well as structuring projects to be financed, under certain conditions, by the fund set up for that purpose.

Most importantly, the AfroChampions Initiative provides for an annual benchmarking process to follow up on this program as well as on national reforms transcribing the AfCFTA to improve African states’ cross-border business-readiness.

“The AfCFTA private sector investment and financing framework is a very thorough approach: monitoring the AfCFTA agreement’s legal implementation, defining certification criteria qualifying projects eligible for funding, mobilising the private sector in Africa and a process to coordinate with the public authorities,” said Albert Muchanga, African Union’s commissioner for trade and industry.

“To address reluctance and concerns about the AfCFTA, we must demonstrate that it is a major and tangible opportunity for all stakeholders, whether states or companies regardless of size, civil society or individual citizens of the African continent,” noted Ali Mufuruki, vice-president of the AfroChampions Club for the East Africa Region.

The participants in the Accra session defined at the end of their workshop a detailed roadmap, including various milestones over the next 18 months. Among the major dates is the presentation of the dedicated fund, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019 for the next AfroChampions Boma, the first benchmark and a follow-up report on the AfCFTA implementation and the organization of an exhibition on ‘Made in Africa’ early 2020.

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