FTACAF Dakar Forum: “Making e-commerce a lever to boost intra-African trade”

Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, Director of GAINDE 2000 and President of the African Performance Institute has suggested that e-commerce can…

Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, Director of GAINDE 2000 and President of the African Performance Institute has suggested that e-commerce can be used as a lever to boost intra-African trade.He was taking part in the Dakar Forum on the African Continental Free Trade Area (FTACAF) on 13 October 2020. 

A statement by his office quoted Mr Diagne as developing the theme «E-commerce, which opportunities to develop intra-African trade», stressing the need to pay particular attention to value creation in electronic business transactions in the context of the realization of the Continental Free Trade Area (FTACAF). 

He contrasted weak e-commerce, which generates many transactions but very little value-added, with strong e-commerce that promotes wealth and job creation.  

He is of the view that the implementation of this agreement presents an opportunity to build a strong market capable of giving growth opportunities to African companies.

The head of GAINDE 2000 added that electronic commerce is a sector that evolves according to technology and it will be increasingly difficult for a company or a country, to maintain and increase its wealth if it does not have a very strong technological capacity.

The challenge, he said, is posed for both African governments and private sectors. 

“The challenge is huge and the lost time in digital is often not made up. The Zlecaf itself must be in its construction, a lever that allows African states and companies to plunge fully into the digital age,” GAINDE 2000’s MD said. 

This will first be based on the operationalization of fully dematerialised rules of origin and regulations that favour electronic transactions he said. 

 “The real battle is to develop skills and foster the emergence of African platform and data giants,” Mr Diagne posited.

Mr. Diagne was speaking at the Dakar forum dedicated to the FTACAF which is part of a series of meetings in the sub-region initiated by the International Trade Centre (ICC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and SMEs. 

The aim is to raise private sector awareness of the benefits of the future single market.

Ms Dorothy Tembo, Assistant Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), called for a synergy of actions by states of the continent to achieve this free zone which, according to her, offers a “formidable” opportunity to the African private sector, Small and medium-sized enterprises in that they can access a larger market.

Aissatou Diallo, Chief Administrator for West Africa and the Indian Ocean of the International Trade Centre and Coordinator of the FTACAF, said the forum is part of a series of awareness-raising and information meetings with the population and private sector actors in particular in order to make them aware of the opportunities offered by the FTACAF. 

According to her, the FTACAF will only have a chance of success if African small and medium-sized enterprises are able to make the most of the new conditions and facilities that the FTACAF puts in place to facilitate their access to more accessible and lucrative business opportunities.