ADDIS ABABA — The African Union (AU) has called on African countries to mutually reinforce the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement with the continent’s industrialization so as to effectively realize Africa’s critical development aspirations.

“Advancing the AfCFTA and Africa’s industrialization side-by-side with deliberate efforts to realize the mutually reinforcing interdependences between the two will provide Africa’s critical success pillar and condition for Agenda 2063,” the AU said in a statement. 

The statement came ahead of the AU’s high-level industrialization-themed continental gathering — African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, slated for Nov. 20-25 in Niamey, the capital of Niger. 

Trading under the continental free trade pact launched in January 2021.

According to the AU, once fully implemented, the AfCFTA will create a single African market for goods and services, covering about 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of more than 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars across Africa. 

“To achieve the aspirations of the AfCFTA, Africa’s industrialization and transformation agenda needs to be supported at the highest national, regional, continental and global levels,” the AU said.

The AU said such a focus will be key to accelerating efforts in a selected number of key policy areas, such as energy and road infrastructure, trade facilitation, financial sector development, education development, agro-industrial transformation, green industrialization, and technological innovation. 

Meanwhile, the AU said under current circumstances, the development challenges confronting Africa necessitate the need for effective, efficient and timely deployment of action for any meaningful impact on delivering sustainable human development in Africa.

The AU Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification will be convened under the theme “Industrializing Africa: Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification.” 

The summit, which will be convened as part of the Africa Industrialization Week annual commemorative activities, will feature Africa Industrialization Day, which is annually commemorated on Nov. 20.

According to the AU, the event provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to reflect on Africa’s industrialization by looking at how the continent can change its current status quo. 

The AU, since 2018, has been commemorating the Africa Industrialization Day with weeklong events, providing more time to reflect and accelerate actions toward Africa’s structural transformation, as an enabler to continental development aspirations. – Xinhua