English Arabic French Portuguese Spanish

Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) Press Release April 10-11, 2016

27 April 2016
(0 votes)
Author :  

The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI)

Executive Council Meets in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

 April 12, 2016 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Executive Council of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) held its 9th Executive Council Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 10-11 April 2016.   

PACCI represents business communities, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and other business support organizations in Africa. Membres of the Executive Council include: Chambre Algérienne de Commerce et d'Industrie, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce et d'Industrie et de Services du Maroc– Khémisset, Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Inde-Congo (C.C.I/I.C), Chambre de Commerce, d'Industrie, d'Agriculture et des Metiers de Brazzaville, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA), Chambre Fédérale de Commerce et d'Industrie de Burundi (CFCIB), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture, Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. The Council is currently chaired by Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the term 2014-2016.

The 2016 executive council discussed PACCI’s activities and finances for the year 2015 and reviewed progress and priorities for the next five years (2016-2020). Council members stressed the need to promote aggressive information campaign in support of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa. It directed the Executive Director of PACCI to foster closer cooperation between the African Union Commission and PACCI in order to coordinate private sector’s perspective on the role of the CFTA integration process and in overcoming obstacles to intra-regional trade. The Council also recommended the PACCI Secretariat to develop closer coordination with regional economic communities and the private sector representatives in the sub regions. The First Vice President of PACCI and the President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA), Mr. Solomon Afework noted during the meeting that the private sector is a key partner in making the Free Trade Area a success and that its involvement in the entire process is critical and essential.     

The Council further made a number of recommendations, such as:

  • Improving coordination and the sharing of information between African Chambers of commerce to help drive long-term growth and development;
  • Building partnerships between African national chambers of commerce and regional development organizations in order to promote trade and investment to realize the continent’s maximum long-term economic potential;
  • Building fruitful relationships with regional economic communities such as ECA, ECOWAS, SADC to promote economic growth, and job creation;
  • Developing and strengthening PACCI to become an effective voice of business for enhanced continental cooperation and integration

Assessing the latest economic trends and challenges, PACCI Executive Director, Mr. Kebour Ghenna, said that growth according to the World Bank in Sub-Saharan Africa declined to 3% in 2015 from 4.5% in 2014, due to low commodity prices, weak global growth, rising borrowing costs, and adverse domestic developments in many countries.  The slowdown, according to the World Bank, was especially sharp in the region’s largest commodity exporters  But there were some bright spots, such as Côte d’Ivoire, which continued to experience robust, broad-based growth, supported by rising investment, and Kenya and Rwanda, where growth remained strong, helped by infrastructure spending, strong consumer demand, and a growing service sector.  He said that African businesses need a confidence boost and that government should act to minimize uncertainty and boost opportunity. 

Finally the Meeting thanked the Trade and Industry Division and the Economic Affairs Division of the African Union for their precious support to strengthen the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI).   

For more information or to speak to an expert from PACCI about this matter please contact Mr. Leul Wondemeneh, Program Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Will intra-Africa trade come of age in 2018?

    Will intra-Africa trade come of age in 2018?

    Overcoming the barriers for intra-African trade to double in a decade can feel like a Sisyphean task – impossible to complete. But that is the objective of the Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) action plan, which targets to double flows between January 2012 and January 2022.

    Many individual African nations will not, on their own, have significant production or purchasing power any time soon. To accommodate such young populations and produce or enable meaningful employment, GDP growth has to sky-rocket, not hobble along. That requires clubbing together.

    Yet global and regional trade agreements are grappling with shifting geo-politics or are being tripped up by populism. Or both. So, on a continent not known for its speedy cohesiveness, will leaders have the pragmatism to give up lofty individual ambitions that may be more realisable at a regional level?

    Traditionally, governments have sought the hegemony given by a national airline, stock exchange, broadcasting corporation and grid. But when, in November 2017, an east African chief justice broached the idea of a regional court to handle electoral disputes, it sounded sensible and not just because it would mitigate the risk of bias. It would also enable the building of expertise.

    Of course, there is no shortage of plans and accords in Africa. Most political leaders can put together a team of policy wonks, legal eagles, technology experts, financial pundits. Eventually a reasonable agreement is likely to be born, preferably capturing the many disparate, uneven needs and desires across the continent, after behind-the-scenes retreats and maybe even Skype calls.

    Once agreed, implementation creates a whole new world of opportunities. It also opens a Pandora’s box of Machiavellian tricks that can appear as suddenly as police officers on our roads.

    This requires leadership at another level. Leadership that is about anticipating, preventing and removing blockers to make way for a common good. Leadership that is equally about promoting the upside and advocating compliance (in actions, not just words), as well as celebrating success just long and judiciously enough to make it feel worthwhile. There is still too much to be done.

    The BIAT action plan focuses on seven interlinked areas. The objectives, at times, reiterate the obvious, such as harmonising and simplifying customs and transit procedures and documentation.

    One of the worst legacies of colonialism is a disproportionate passion for forms, stamps and (in some cases) queues. All reinforcements of an outdated authority. Even introducing technology has not always been radical enough. We need to go back to basics. Allow the trader to transport that food product or spare part container to its destination quickly, safely and legitimately.

    The plan’s success rate will be improved if it uses African and global lessons learnt where appropriate.

    Coupled with BIAT – as closely as possible if we are to avoid duplications and contradictions – is the Continental Free-Trade Agreement (CFTA), due finally to be adopted in March 2018. How it will overcome the hurdles that the current regional economic communities have not remains to be seen.

    The president of Niger and the executive secretary for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa consider intra-African trade to be “different from the trade goods that flow from Africa to the rest of the world, which are mostly crops, mineral products, metals and oil” — presumably because all of these are susceptible to globally-determined prices and bought by companies that want to create their own end products in factories that have reliable, cost-effective power, trained labour, good transport links, scale and so on.

    Instead, President Mahamadou Issoufou and Vera Songwe believe that the CFTA will allow local small and medium-sized enterprises, the continent’s overwhelming employer, to manufacture and sell “value-added and industrial products like processed agricultural goods, basic produce, and financial and retail services” to neighbours, both next-door and a few thousand kilometres away. This could force infrastructure and education to improve. It could even substitute imports.

    It is incumbent upon BIAT and CFTA to enable and require Africans to:

    1. Produce physical and digital products and services that Africans need or want

    Here’s a list to start with:

    • Dairy, especially in West Africa. I know Hausa-Fulani cows can produce yoghurt, as I saw it on sale in Ibadan, Nigeria. I went back to buy it the following day, having been assured I would find the shop open. It was firmly closed. (Will the trade agreement encourage better service?)
    • Suitable textiles and clothes for the different climates across the continent.
    • Solar PV panels. Renewable energy is a significant new employer in countries like the United States of America, Germany, India, China and Brazil.
    • Integrated inter-city and urban transport using renewable energy (carriages and stations) and offering modern payment options and amenities such as Wi-Fi.
    • Affordable financial services (not only plain vanilla collateralised loans) for small and medium-sized enterprises. Fintech platforms such as loans4SME.com, Lendingkart Finance and incomlend.com already exist and, where appropriate, could be adapted for Africa.
    • Patent lawyers. Generally, I am concerned Africa is producing too many lawyers, given the advancements in artificial intelligence, but this is a specialisation the continent needs.
    1. Make it easier to pay for them

    Ever tried buying cotton from Burkina Faso when you’re in Nigeria? Flutterwave is a Nigerian/US payments solution that can be used across the continent. Binkabi is allowing cross-border trade to take place without using the US dollar.

    1. Resolve disputes quickly and online

    To encourage cross-border (including high volume, low value, business-to-consumer) trade, buyers and sellers must have confidence that any issues will be resolved in a timely and efficient manner.

    Consumer ombudsmen have signed up twenty large, voluntary retailers (including supermarkets) in some European Union countries on a single platform. Once a customer inputs a case onto this platform, the retailer has to respond, otherwise it gets heavily penalized. This gives a controlled environment, with a centralized authority.

    In Africa, we require functioning ombudsmen in the major economies where there are common retailers. How will the CFTA/BIAT address this?

    1. Protect personal data

    Governments in Africa must start taking data protection and encryption far more seriously. Only then can they get the private sector to do so. And not just for financial transactions – data can be worth more than the money.

    1. Protect intellectual property

    The capacity for evaluating and protecting intellectual property varies vastly across the continent. It needs to be in place in order to improve the quality, relevance and timeliness of research and development on the ground.

    1. Have affordable, reliable Internet access

    “The ability for businesses and consumers to use the Internet requires an enabling environment – a set of laws and institutions that support the process of buying, paying, and delivering digital [and physical] products”, hence the points above. Robust Internet and communications technology is the infrastructure to enable e-commerce, which will in turn bolster cross-border trade.

    1. Selectively use blockchain

    Nuts don’t require sledgehammers.

    It is, understandably, tempting to use technology that can combat corruption, even at a price. However, scalability, latency, lack of mainstream understanding, resistance (deliberate or otherwise) by some sectors to rely exclusively on data in digital form, outdated legacy systems (which may not always be the case in Africa), lack of national/cross-border regulation (which may appear counter-intuitive, but is it being discussed by CFTA/BIAT?), standardisation, interoperability, accountability, legality of smart contracts, privacy/security, and competition/anti-trust are all open challenges. Private distributed ledgers could help, but the cost-effectiveness still needs to be evaluated.

    1. Cede national pride for the benefit of the continent

    CFTA has to be phased in if it is to work. Competition will, like IP and e-commerce, only “be part of the second phase of CFTA negotiations – expected to be launched after the conclusion of negotiations on goods and services”. However, it is one of the causes for any regional trade agreement to unravel. Still, African governments that are ready to stop hanging onto old, territorial ways of doing business and share the cake (or kola nut or other equivalent) may be pleasantly surprised at the results. (The Citizen)

  • African economies urged to innovate to avoid global shocks

    Governments across Sub-Saharan region should embrace innovative policy options to enhance the resilience of their economies in the light of external shocks like global economic slowdown and erratic weather patterns, policymakers and executives said at a forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Login to post comments

The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 2009 by 35 founding national business chambers to influence government policy and create a better operating environment for business.

Latest Tweets