African Union Commissioner for Trade & Industry, Ambassador Albert Muchanga wins the Champion of Trade 2019 Award

Chicago, United States of America - 01 August 2019 - Following a successful launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Ambassador Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry was presented with the Champion of Trade Award at the 2nd edition of the Trade with Africa Business Summit in Chicago. Also attending this great event were U.S. and Africa business and political leaders including Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Managing Director Intra-African Trade Initiatives African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Ms. Tamara Maxwell, Director at the Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Honorable Ben Okoyen, Consul General of Nigeria in New York and Shakira Motan, Trade Commissioner, Consulate of South Africa in Chicago. The Trade With Africa Business Summit presents an effective platform to facilitate trade discussions and provides a front row sit to business leaders looking to engage, build partnerships as well as educate themselves on the growing economic impact Africa is having in the global market.

We have found in Ambassador Albert Muchanga a leader with a clear vision, tenacity and rigor and on behalf of my generation, who believe in the future of Africa, it is an honor to present the Champion of Trade award to His Excellency” said Toyin Umesiri, CEO Nazaru LLC. and Founder of the Trade with Africa Business Summit.

In receiving the Champion of Trade Award, Commissioner Muchanga noted that the achievement was the result of a teamwork under the Leadership of the Champion of the AfCFTA process, H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou, President of the Republic of Niger and H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. In addition, He emphasized the dedication of staff from the Department of Trade and Industry, the collaboration with other Departments within the AU Commission and more important, the unwavering political commitment from AU Member States and the role played by key development partners. While attending the event H.E. Ambassador Muchanga also delivered a keynote address on the African Continental Free Trade Area covering three main points which were; the AfCFTA and the opportunities it brings to investors and traders, the current status of implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement and the point on what lies beyond the launch of the operational phase of AfCFTA that was held in Niamey, Niger on the 7th July, 2019.

By creating one African market, we are transforming the African landscape by creating a large market of 1.27 billion people (expected to be 1.7 billion in the next eleven years) with a growing middle of 350 million (which will reach 600 million in 2030). This provides an opportunity for economies of scale, large scale and long term investments. Arising from this, the basic incentive for businesses operating in the AfCFTA is that they will face huge and attractive opportunities”, he emphasized. The AfCFTA Agreement provides a framework for legal certainty and predictability, which is critical for trade and investment.

After the keynote address, Mr. Michael Mugisha Sr. Producer at CNBC Africa, moderated a Q&A Session between Ambassador Muchanga and attendees of the summit. Responding to the question on the challenges in the implementation of the AfCFTA, the Commissioner emphasized that effective monitoring of the implementation of the AfCFTA will be essential in order to detect possible issues (such as trade deflection) and address them. In the medium to long term, the answer will be to move towards a customs union and ultimately realize the African Economic Community as envisaged in the Abuja Treaty of 1991.

Commissioner Muchanga congratulated Mrs. Toyin Umesiri, CEO Nazaru LLC., for initiating the Trade with Africa Business Summit and commended her for the impressive and progressive initiative. He encouraged her to continue to work with the AU Permanent Mission in the US to expand the initiative so as to reach out to the African diaspora and African community in the US. The Trade With Africa Business Summit represents a great platform to sensitize these constituencies to invest in the African integrated market created by the AfCFTA, concluded Commissioner Muchanga.

In the context of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) the timing is right for U.S. business leaders to develop effective strategies towards Africa. It was a great honor to host delegates from the African Union, Afreximbank as well as speakers and attendees from several African countries at this year’s edition in Chicago. Africa offers new markets for U.S. made products. Similarly, U.S. serves as an untapped market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).” concluded Toyin Umesiri, CEO Nazaru LLC & Founder Trade with Africa Business Summit

This year’s event was sponsored by Nazaru LLC., Westrock Coffee and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with several other organizations.