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Editor's Note: Unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential; Supercharging the continental free trade area

Dear Reader,

Today marks 60 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was relaunched into the African Union (AU) in 2002. As part of commemorations of Africa Day, we bring you a special edition of the Zim Briefing, reflecting on the remarkable strides being made towards the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). This edition features two provoking articles that shed light on some crucial aspects of this monumental endeavour for Africa.

According to the organisers, the AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 aimed at creating a single African market for goods and services facilitated by free movement of persons, capital, investment to deepen economic integration, promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality, industrialisation, agricultural development, food security, and structural transformation.

The first article titled “What does Pan-Africanism and solidarity look like or mean in the context of AFCFTA?,” delves into the profound significance of Pan Africanism and solidarity within the framework of the AFCFTA. Notwithstanding some of the challenges Africa is battling with such as migration, it explores how this historic initiative has the potential to foster unity and cooperation among African nations. This article analyses what the concept of Pan- Africanism in the context of AFCFTA means. It provides a deeper understanding of the transformative power that lies within the region and questions what is a free trade area without free movement of people/labor.

In the second article, “Tracing the Journey: A historical overview of the establishment of the AFCFTA and the anticipated shift towards targeting youth, women and SMEs,” the focus shifts towards a comprehensive historical overview of the establishment of the AFCFTA. It does not only highlight the milestones achieved along this journey but also emphasises the envisioned shift towards inclusivity. Specifically, it explores how AFCFTA aims to prioritise and empower marginalised groups such as women, young people and the SMEs. By doing so, it strives to create an enabling environment that fosters sustainable economic development and equitable opportunities for all.

Overall, we discuss the commitment of African nations to accelerate the implementation of the AFCFTA and unleash its full potential. This serves as a call to action for all governments and stakeholders as well as citizens to actively participate in the realisation of this transformative initiative. We also underscore the importance of addressing issues of inclusivity, solidarity and empowerment that ensure that the benefits of AFCFTA are shared by all segments of society.

As we celebrate Africa Day, let us draw inspirations from this edition and embrace all the opportunities presented by AFCFTA. Together we can all achieve the Africa we want, we can forge a prosperous future that is built on Pan-Africanism, solidarity and inclusive economic growth.

Happy Reading!

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