• Friday, March 01, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Make democracy work,’ Kingsley Moghalu’s APSS begs African leaders

kingsley Moghalu (1)

…says prosperity for 1.3 billion people on the continent depends on it

The Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS) on Thursday called on all African leaders and aspiring leaders to make democracy not only work on the continent but be a true opportunity for prosperity for its 1.3 billion inhabitants.

In a press statement, titled “Africa’s 2024 Elections: Opportunity to Create Enabling Business Environments,” and signed by Kingsley Moghalu, Chairman, APSS Board of Directors and Advisory Board, the organisation said that the motivation behind its call for democracy to work on the continent was because of its belief that the adoption of a Charter on Private Sector Bill of Rights (PSBoR) will create an enabling environment for trade and investment in Africa to flourish.

The PSBoR, which is the brainchild of the APSS, is expected to enable existing Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) protocols, agreed upon by governments of all African countries and the African Union, to work.

Moghalu added that “this will contribute to actualizing the vision of the African Union’s Agenda 2063—The Africa We Want, thus creating prosperity for Africans through intra-African trade.”

In addition to the earlier benefits highlighted, the APSS stated that it was critically important for businesses and the private sector to be empowered and enabled in a supportive environment, knowing that this was the only way the AfCFTA agreement ratified by 47 African countries could fulfil its potential of lifting 30 million people out of poverty and boost the continent’s income by $450 billion by 2035.

It said, “Considering the potential of the AfCFTA (which has been ratified by 47 African countries as of December 2023) to lift 30 million people out of poverty and boost Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035, the Africa Private Sector Summit believes that businesses and the private sector, as the primary drivers of wealth creation, need to be empowered and enabled with a supportive environment to get on with this natural task.

“The primary purpose of every government in Africa’s developing countries should, therefore, be to achieve this purpose of lifting the quality of life of Africa’s peoples by enabling optimal conversion of natural resources for a marked increase in their productive wealth.”

The organisation mentioned seven key rights of the 24 rights captured in the Charter of the Private Sector Bill of Rights that all governments on the continent should adopt to support businesses.

Some of these are “peace, security, and stability for a productive business environment; a functional legal system that guarantees the sanctity of contracts; and the timely resolution of commercial and trade disputes.

Others are “efficient and fair tax rules that avoid multiple taxation, equal treatment and equal opportunity for market competition, consultation with the private sector on policy, and laws and regulations prior to enactment.”

The last two are “timely and efficient processing of imports and cargoes and a functional educational system that meets the skills-set demands of the private sector.”

The APSS added that it will collaborate with PACCI, AfCFTA, and AfBC to ensure that the Private Sector Bill is adopted by the African Union in 2025.