Thursday, September 19, 2019

AfCFTA Implementation Strategies-Part-10: The Coordination

I am glad to announce that this is the tenth and therefore the last in the series of this ten part article on the AfCFTA implementation Strategies. This edition of the article will be focused on Coordination. The implementation committee must develop a strategic vision and goal that they want to achieve using the AfCFTA. This should be divided into objectives which are small goals that lead to the ultimate goal when combined. They should also come up with the strategies for the achievement of each of the goals. Based on these various strategies, a well thought out plan for implementation should be put in place and finally, the committee should then break the plans down into step by step daily activities that will lead to the fulfilment of its goals. These are the tools to be used by the implementation committee to coordinate the successful and sustainable implementation of the AfCFTA 

I strongly believe that the implementation committee must coordinate the development of a vision and a set goal. The goal will give the committee a direction so it can measure its progress. For example, according to the world top export, Nigeria exported goods worth $52.9 out of the total African export of $476.6 in the year 2018. This constitutes 11.01% of the total exportation out of Africa. The committee can then use this to develop a vision to contribute 25% of export volume of Africa in the next ten years and set a goal that will drive all its programmes and activities in the implementation of AfCFTA. This Vision and its implication on business expansion, production capacity, job creation, poverty eradication, impact on the Gross Domestic Products and per capita income should be made clear to the business communities. 

Secondly, the AfCFTA implementation committee should also define the objectives that will be used to coordinate and properly direct the focus of the AfCFTA implementation for the maximum impact. These objectives are smaller goals set for each of the sub-sector of exportation and these should be done in such a way that they add up to culminate in the ultimate goal that was set in the first place. To define the objectives, the ultimate goal or target should be shared across export of Manufactured goods, Agricultural commodities, Minerals and Services. This sharing formula should be based on the current annual export volume and contribution of these sub-sectors vis a vis the expected impact of what the government is planning to do. The committee might need to set up a subcommittee among its members to enable them work closely with the stakeholders in the various sub-sectors, identify their challenges and collate all their feedbacks and then use this to formulate policies that will be recommended to the implementation committee for their necessary action. 

The third thing to be coordinated by the implementation committee are the strategies to be deployed to achieve each of the set objectives. This should be done by the subcommittee created within the AfCFTA implementation in conjunction with the private sectors representative outside the AfCFTA committee. The strategies might vary from one sub-sector to the order based on the peculiarity of the challenges that are currently being faced in each of the sub-sector. One strategy that must cut across all the sub-sector is the strategies that will enhance competitiveness. The last competitive index report showed that Nigeria is least competitive among all the top five economies in Africa. This will mean that the probability that products manufactured in Nigeria, Agricultural commodities cultivated in Nigeria and Minerals mined in Nigeria, will be more expensive than those from other African countries will be very high. The strategies must also include how to effectively communicate AfCFTA to all the stakeholders especially exporters and the boosting of production capacity of the various export sub-sectors in order to be able to meet likely increase in demand from the African countries under the AfCFTA.

Having mapped out the strategies tailored towards the achievement of the objectives in each of the export sub-sectors, the next thing is to put together the implementation plan. This should also be done by the subcommittee created within the AfCFTA implementation in conjunction with the private sectors representative outside the AfCFTA committee. The plan should include the action steps for the implementation of the various strategies with timelines. The planning should answer all the necessary questions that must be answered in the implementation of the strategies and this should include the what, the who, the where, the which, the why, the when and the how to implement the strategies. A monitoring and evaluation mechanism should also be put in place so as to regularly get feedback and make necessary adjustments and interventions in a timely manner. 

Finally, I am very glad to have come to the end of this ten-part series of articles on the AfCFTA implementation strategies. I will like to remind my readers that if we do not do the work, the AfCFTA will not work for us. Some countries have already started considering the establishment of a whole agency of government that will be in charge of the AfCFTA and others are setting up different structures to make it a success. I hope that it will be a success also in Nigeria if we can increase and sustain the tempo. It is my hope that the implementation committee of the government will adopt some of the recommendations that are been prescribed in this article in order to make the implementation of the AfCFTA create the necessary jobs that will lift out of penury, the tens of millions of Nigeria that are currently living below the poverty line. 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind.
Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)
Lead Consultant at 3T Impex Trade Academy