The Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) has been introduced to South Africa at the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Business Forum being held in Cape Town this week held under the leadership of Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of AfCFTA.
GABI, initiated under the leadership of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, in partnership with the African Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and other partners, will help promote sustainable investment and foster collaboration on initiatives and can support the implementation of the AfCFTA. The African Union has made the theme of 2023 the “Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation.”
During opening remarks at the AfCTA Business Forum Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO, UN Global Compact noted the importance of GABI to AfCFTA’s work:
“By leveraging an extensive network of partners, including the African Union, GABI seeks to address challenges unique to Africa and catalyze long-term solutions. In alignment with the African Union’s 2023 priorities, GABI will foster collaboration on initiatives that support the implementation of AfCFTA. The African business community must utilize this Agreement to drive forward socioeconomic transformation.”
AfCFTA will play a key role in fueling trade and investment opportunities within the continent as well as the world with multiple initiatives which include facilitating easier trade across borders, increased investment in renewable energy and promoting the growth of Africa’s creative and cultural industries. According to the World Bank, AfCFTA could boost regional income by $450 billion, speed up wage growth for women and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.
GABI will complement AfCFTA’s mission to accelerate economic growth, regional integration and advance sustainable development by bringing together African heads of state, UN leadership and philanthropy, as well as CEOs and key players from the private sector, to highlight the business opportunities and sector development of AfCFTA to a global audience. For 2023, GABI’s key themes are energy access and energy transition, digital transformation, and inclusive growth and trade.
During her visit to South Africa, Sanda Ojiambo co-hosted with Nelson Muffuh, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa, a CEO Dinner and Dialogue on the Global Africa Business Initiative. In her welcoming remarks, she noted the growth and potential of the country:
“South Africa is leading the way towards energy access and a low carbon economy, accelerating its Just Energy Transition through public partnerships and private investment. We’ve heard how the digital transformation is revolutionizing the way South Africans live, learn and work. This transformation is opening new markets for exports and services, deepening partnerships with governments, and increasing productivity, competitiveness and service delivery.”
During the dinner, Ojiambo noted the importance of private sector efforts and public-private partnerships to drive the continent’s development agenda and encouraged those present to attend the 2023 SDG Summit in September.