The African Development Bank (AfDB), has estimated the size of trade within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at over $3.3 trillion.
President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the ongoing Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) in Japan.
In a statement issued by the bank’s Communication and External Relations Department on Thursday, Adesina said Africa had the largest free trade zone since the World Trade Organisations was established.
According to him, the continent has a huge market which can no longer be ignored.
He explained that Africa represented a massive business opportunity, given that “the world’s 12 fastest-growing countries are in Africa’’.
“With a population of more than one billion people, consumer spending in Africa is projected to rise from $680 billion in 2008 to $2.2 trillion by 2030.
“The continent will have the fastest growing youth population in the world by 2030.
“Significantly, the African continent far outpaces every other region in the world when it comes to the uptake of mobile phones and internet connectivity.
“And of all the world’s continents, Africa has been the fastest growing mobile market for the past five years, with more than 200 million mobile users.
“It has also recorded the highest internet growth, from just 2.1 per cent in 2005, to over 24 per cent in 2018. By 2025, an estimated 300 million people will come online in Africa.
“Five years later by 2030, Africa will have 16 per cent of the world’s internet users, a growth of over 260 per cent from 2017,’’ he said.
The AfDB boss said the growth was dramatic and would not stop there as the continent was building on the growth of mobile telephony to inaugurate a new wave of dynamic and more competitive digitally enabled businesses.
According to him, the number of technology hubs, physical spaces designed to foster and support tech startups and growth dramatically to 442, with the largest concentrations in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and Ghana.
He said these centres provided space for entrepreneurs from all sectors to innovate and integrate digital solutions into traditional sectors.
Meanwhile, the bank said it is currently investing about $25 billion to help make agriculture and agribusiness Africa’s biggest industry.
In a statement yesterday Adesina predicted that the size of food and agriculture industry will rise to one trillion dollars by 2030.
According to him, a lot of progress has been made in this renewed drive to transform agriculture on the continent.
“The AfDB inaugurated the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to help ramp up technologies to millions of farmers.
“TAAT connects the global agricultural research centres, national agricultural research centres, private sector and agricultural value chains in Africa, in an unprecedented effort to connect the supply and demand side of technologies seamlessly…”
“For the first time, accountability was built into the approach, with technology delivery compacts signed by all participating institutions and partners.
“TAAT partners, which include the World Bank, AGRA, IFAD and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have mobilised one billion dollars.
“The results are impressive. Last year alone, the TAAT maize compact helped to deliver water efficient maize across the Southern Africa region that was experiencing severe drought…”