AfCFTA will be a game changer for Africa, but its success depends on certain enablers being present. The first and most obvious impediment and an obstacle to the initiative will be mustering the political will of the signatories to implement the necessary reforms to enable its success. This may not always be politically feasible or possible.
The less obvious enablers and the financial institutions on the African continent. Their presence and activities have a direct and strong bearing on the success of AfCFTA. One of the foremost bankers on the African continent, Sim Tshabalala, the chief executive of the continent’s largest banking institution by assets, is fond of saying that banking is a derived business. This means that banks butter their bread from the activities of economic agents.
If AfCFTA is to succeed in its quest to merge the various comparative advantages of the countries that constitute Africa it will need champion banks to support the intra and intercontinental trade activity from there being a single market and all participants, both local and foreign looking to make money. Africa will need champion banks to facilitate the flow of capital to worthwhile projects and ensure that the capital deployed into various activities earns the best returns for its providers.
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