Kingsley Moghalu, Chairman, Board of Directors and Advisory Board, Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS), has said that 30 million Nigerians and other Africans could be lifted out of poverty by 2035 through the collaborative effort of the Private Sector Bills of Rights (PSBoR), Regional Economic Communities (REC), and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Aside from lifting 30 million people out of poverty, Moghalu added that a target of increasing the continent’s GDP by $450 billion by the same time in 2035 and boosting intra-African trade by 52 percent is very achievable if the continent’s regional economic blocs captured inside the AfCFTA could fully inculcate the tenets of the PSBoR.
The chairman, who acted as a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deputy governor, said this on Tuesday during his inaugural address at the AfCFTA Joint Private Sector Session of the 2023 Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Fair taking place in Cairo, Egypt.
Moghalu, speaking on the topic “The Africa we want: The Private Sector Bill of Rights as a companion instrument to Regional Economic Communities and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,” said that “when fully implemented, the AfCFTA will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent, lift 30 million people out of poverty, and increase the continent’s GDP by USD 450 billion by 2035.”
He admitted that intra-African growth in trade wasn’t the function of the government and its agencies alone but was heavily reliant on the private sector’s involvement.
He said, “While governments have signed and ratified the AfCFTA, it is companies and business enterprises that trade across Africa, far more than governments. This means that the African private sector must be strengthened to leverage the provisions and protocols of the AfCFTA to expand intra-African trade and create prosperity.”
Private sector involvement could be progressive when organisations such as the African Private Sector Summit (APSS) and the PSBoR are fully functional.
Moghalu said, “A pan-African, private sector-led organisation, the mission of the APSS is to promote trade and investment across Africa through an enabling business environment. We work through an ecosystem approach in which we collaborate with other entities such as the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PACCI), the African Business Council (ABC), and the Africa Education Trust Fund (AETF) to leverage the private sector’s ability to drive trade and investment on our continent.”
As of today, the chairman explained that “to help achieve an enabling environment for business on the continent, APSS is engaging with African governments and other relevant parties for the adoption by all African countries of a Charter on the Private Sector Bill of Rights (PSBoR) for an Enabling Business Environment.
“The Private Sector Bill of Rights contains 24 specific rights. These rights include the rights to easy establishment of businesses, a conducive legal framework for business, infrastructure, peace and security, and consultative relationships between governments and businesses in the making of regulations that govern or affect business.”
Moghalu added that only through the adoption of the PSBoR would the key framework protocols of the AfCFTA, such as “liberalise trade in services progressively, cooperate on investment, intellectual property rights, and competition policy, cooperate on all trade-related issues, cooperate on customs matters and the implementation of trade facilitation measures, establish dispute settlement mechanisms, and establish and maintain an institutional framework for the implementation of the AfCFTA,” be achieved.
“I believe that the Private Sector Bill of Rights, when adopted by African countries and alongside the RECs and AfCFTA, addresses a fundamental conundrum that has confronted post-colonial Africa for decades: why have market-oriented economies created broad-based wealth in Europe, North America, and increasingly in Asia, but poverty remains high in the vast majority of African countries? Breaking this jinx is the goal of the AfCFTA and the African Union’s vision 2063: The Africa we want,” Moghalu said.