The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has inaugurated a 14-member team to serve as its Trade and Industrial Development Advisory Council.
A statement issued by the AfCFTA secretariat Tuesday said that Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu and Ms Jane Ezirigwe of Nigeria are part of the team. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka is the Special Advisor to the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) on Industrialisation.
He is a globally respected leader in the field of development economics, where he has contributed immensely to the social sciences of urbanisation and human settlement, industrialisation and economic development. Dipeolu is the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Matters, while Ezirigwe is a research fellow at the Nigerian institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) with research interests focused on food and agriculture, law, human rights and development.
According to the statement, one of the key mandates of the AfCFTA agreement is the promotion of industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security. “This is imperative given the low levels of investments in industrial production, which is also a major contributor to the low percentage of intra-African trade. Africa has 17 per cent of the global population and fastest-growing middle class but only accounts for 2.1 per cent of global trade and three per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It is against this background that Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene convened a brainstorming workshop to discuss the matters of trade and industrial development, which led to his proposal to constitute an Advisory Council.” The council is to provide advice on trade integration and transformative industrialisation as part of the implementation of the AfCFTA.