African Chamber of Trade and Investment (AfCTI) has been named one of three winners of the maiden Champions of Trade for the SDGs competition.
The competition which was launched by the SDG’s Advisory Unit of the Office of the President, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) created a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, and young men and women from the 16 regions of Ghana to submit innovative ideas to make the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement a people’s movement towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the final pitch on Friday, April, 30 2021, Mr. Stefan Danquah and the 9 finalists pitched (presented and defended) their business ideas before an expert panel of judges. Mr. Stefan Danquah, the project coordinator for AfCTI who led the organization to victory presented an all-inclusive strategy in the initiative, ‘The Youth in Trade Forum’ that sought to localize the AFCTA to promote continental trade among businesses of young people in Ghana.
Other organizations that received topmost awards were Blackbridge Consulting Group limited, Nedie Tech and Media Network.
The Youth in Trade Forum
The objective of the Youth in Trade Forum is to make the young people drivers and not mere beneficiaries of international trade in this AfCFTA era. The youth in Ghana, and Africa have been at the forefront of entrepreneurship as leaders of small and medium scale, and innovation driven enterprises. Youth-led enterprises have also contributed to the sustainable development goals by addressing development issues encompassing access to education, poverty, food security, etc.
Particularly in Ghana, the government has supported these enterprises through several initiatives including the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), the Youth Enterprise Support (YES), and several other initiatives implemented through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
In spite of this, the participation of youth-led businesses in international trade is limited. The adult population, and their businesses dominate the trade spaces as custodians of both information and resources. To maximize the gains of the AfCFTA to the youth and the country at large, this intergenerational gap in access to information and resources needs to be bridged.
The Youth in Trade Forum (YITF) will therefore be a platform to bring together business leaders with experience in international trade, and young women and men with businesses that have benefitted from any of government’s initiatives, to dialogue on the barriers and opportunities of the youth’s participation in international trade.
The YITF is implemented within three approaches. The en masse approach will bring business leaders and young entrepreneurs together in a conference to have discussions on dedicated themes on the rules, financing, opportunities and barriers to international trade. The personalized approach will be a mentorship programme between business leaders to young entrepreneurs. Business leader will support young entrepreneurs to develop personal and business development plans towards the goal of the Forum.
Finally, the intellectual approach information, publications, updates, etc. on the subject will be spread across online platforms in interesting ways is to stir up conversations on the youth and cross-border trade in Africa.
In the next 5 years, 250 youth-led enterprises will benefit directly from the conference and mentorship programme of the YITF. In the end, participating youth will be equipped to take advantage of the benefits of the AfCFTA for their businesses, but also extend the frontiers of the sustainable development impact of their enterprises beyond the shores of Ghana
About African Chamber of Trade and Investment (AfCTI)
African Chamber of Trade and Investment provides education on the variants of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area while partnering with investment promotion agencies of African governments to market Africa’s investment potential. The Chamber has heavy focus on enhancing the availability of information that is aimed at enhancing the appreciation and understanding of the African economy by current and potential investors.
AfCFTA primarily creates platforms for building partnerships between African businesses and potential Foreign Direct Investors, provides greater insight into Africa’s investment climate through forums. The Chamber also implements initiatives to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area through legal and policy discussions within Africa’s trade space.