The key to an integrated Africa

By Yamkela Makupula

The Covid-19 pandemic has dragged African economies into a fall of about 1.4 percent in GDP, with smaller economies facing contraction of up to 7.8 percent. This has forced many already poor and heavily indebted countries to further borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just to survive the pandemic. In fact, many have already borrowed from the future.

With debt overtaking total economic output, how will these African nations recover?

The answer lies in the complete integration of the African continent. Individually, African countries are weak, but united they could unleash Africa’s true potential.

Firstly, African leaders must honour the commitments they have made and implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). AfCFTA must be the priority in the formation of policy and regulation in every signatory country.

We need to start looking at the issues that keep Africans divided. Infrastructure is the greatest impediment that keeps us apart.

here are more than 600 million Africans who don’t have electricity. Most are women in rural areas. Without electricity, there are no mobile phones or internet. These women are isolated from each other, the rest of their country and the continent. Development projects that do not include women should not be funded by the African Development Bank and similar institutions.

Political leaders must see the enormous value in cross-border infrastructure investment. Poor road and rail networks make it costly to do business in Africa.

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