The African Union has noted that the private sector is crucial for the economic and social transformation of the continent.
The private sector in Africa accounts for over 80 per cent of total production, two thirds of total investment, and three fourths of lending within the economy, AU working document presented at the 12th African Private Sector Forum at Cairo, Egypt, and made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema outlined.
The forum organised by the African Union in collaboration with African Business Council was on the theme: “Strengthening African Private Sector’s capacity to respond to disrupted markets and ensure economic resilience in the face of COVID-19 pandemic”.
According to the document, the sector also provided jobs for about 90 per cent of the employed working-age population.
“Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) are the backbone of the African private sector accounting for over 90 per cent of businesses in Africa.
“This translates to 63 per cent of employment in low-income countries while contributing to over 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa”.
The AU documents also identified that intra-African trade pointed toward progress, “trade within Africa remains very low in proportion to total global trade, highlighting the need for enhanced intra-African trade.
“The tides however look promising with the launch of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
“The AFCFTA is expected to increase intra-African Trade by over 50 per cent, and will boost the continent’s GDP by more than $40 billion, and its exports by more than $55 billion”.
The AU therefore seeks to promote private sector engagement, and has implemented programmes that seek to form strategic partnerships with the private sector through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) engagements.
Within the various pathways of the PPP, the AU seeks a more efficient and coherent engagement in driving the implementation of Africa’s development framework, Agenda 2063.
In so doing, the AU is not only acknowledging the vital role the sector plays as a key driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, but also as efforts to create an enabling and conducive environment for the private sector players to set up thriving businesses in the continent.
The success of the private sector landscape positively feeds into its role as a catalyst for the continent’s industrial development and broader transformation.
The AU has throughout the years worked closely with the private sector to define the great contribution and significant role the private sector plays in driving the economic development Agenda of the continent.