2020 is projected to be a year of economic integration and action in Africa. In this week’s business segment, Amelia Martha Nakitimbo highlights some events on the calender.
AfCFTA to come into force
In exactly seven months from now, Africa will become the world’s largest trade block valued at $1.3 billion dollars. The African Free Trade Continental Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into force on July 1, 2020. Current regional economic blocs are expected to facilitate integration given the existing rules and infrastructure.
West African states to adopt single currency, ECO
Speaking of regional blocs, after 19 years of waiting, 2020 looks like the answer to West Africa’s planned single currency. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has accelerated plans to implement, this June, the currency, known simply as ECO.
Ghana, host of the AfCFTA Secretariat and Nigeria, the region’s largest economy, have already indicated their willingness to adopt the change.
Though, there is breeding concerning France’s interference. Former French colonies in West and Central Africa are readying up to replace the infamous CFA franc with the ECO currency. However, some critics fear that only the face and the name of the currency will change and not the Euro-tied influence and conditions.
UK-Africa Investment Summit in London
The United Kingdom on January 20 host the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. The meeting is expected to bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to promote investment opportunities across Africa.
It is being marketed as an event that “will mobilise new and substantial investment to create jobs and boost mutual prosperity.”
In an attempt to strengthen UK-Africa ties ahead of Brexit, former UK Prime Minister, Theresa May visited the continent’s strongest economies including Nigeria and South Africa.
Some leaders on the continent have previously expressed fears that Brexit would affect aid rations and thus the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Silencing the Gun By 2020?
The African Union ambition to Silence the Gun by 2020 ha not been feasible. This, therefore, is going to be the focus of the 33th ordinary session of the African Union slated for February 9-10 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Silencing the Gun By 2020 has not been feasible. For example, Libya is facing one of the freshest conflicts on the continent which started only in 2019. We can only wait and see the AU assessment. Perhaps the ambitious plan will take on a new name or deadline extension.
Annual financial forecast for the airline industry
Also in June, African Airline leaders are expected to take part in The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting.
The event billed as the world’s largest gathering of high level executives in aviation will see the release of its annual financial forecast for the airline industry.
Regulating use of nuclear energy
In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in Vienna for the 64th general conference. The IAEA promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to deter its use for military purposes.
Namibia is the world’s 4th largest uranium producer according to the World Nuclear Association, followed by Niger in 5th place and South Africa at number 15.
Russia has taken advantage of the skills and resources gap in Africa; and in fact, signed some long term deals in the lead up to the Africa-Russia summit last October. One of those is a deal to develop a nuclear power station in Uganda.