Africa’s top CEOs share their views on the AfCFTA

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UNITY, co-operation and economic integration between African countries have been called for by some of Africa’s top CEOs as they shared their insights and recommendations on how best to address challenges that are hindering trade and business and investment on the continent

The ‘CEO Talk’ session took place during the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, which ends on Tuesday.

The talk hosted four top African CEOs : Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Diane Karusisi, CEO of Bank of Kigali, Tony Attah, CEO of Nigeria LNG and Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables.

‘It is important to speak with one voice,’ explained Diane Karusisi. She said that the AfCFTA demonstrates how Africa is coming together as a continent, at a time where other continents are finding other ways to develop themselves. ‘The AfCFTA is changing the narrative, because people are looking at Africa as a block, where everyone needs a share of what they can do on the continent. So we have here the opportunity to say ‘we are a United block and these are our terms, this is how we want it,’ she said.

The CEO of the first Rwandan Bank further commended the Africa CEO Forum for raising awareness in people around the implementation of the AfCFTA and the intra-growth of trade and investment.

During the talk, Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, remarked how the AfCFTA helped the International Airline redefine its strategies in regards to the continent. ‘For the Ethiopian Airlines, Africa has always been our base, but we’ve done more in terms of connecting Africa with the rest of the world. We have 60 destinations in Africa and 60 more destinations outside of Africa. So, with the AfCFTA advancing, we are restructuring our strategy to focus more on connecting Africa within itself,’ said GebreMariam.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO further highlighted how the advancement of the AfCFTA placed the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and open sky policy in a better position to be fully implemented on the continent.

The CEO of Angola Cables, Antonio Nunes, showcased how technology will come into play in the CFTA, through the creation of a hub of technology that will focus on efficiently serving Africans, which would mean better resources, hence better trade.

The four CEOs conclusively agreed that Africa needs to step up and work together towards the implementation of the CFTA, towards a better business prospective.

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