The AfCFTA, if fully implemented, would significantly boost African trade without exerting considerable pressure on climate change, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said.
Late Friday, experts advocated making the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) a reality and boosting China-Africa cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to boost sustainable growth in Africa.
According to official reports, the calls were made during a presentation of research findings at a session on AfCFTA and industrialization in Africa, held on the sidelines of the African Economic Conference 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The conference, themed "Imperatives for Sustainable Industrial Development in Africa," brought together experts, the private sector, researchers and youth.
According to the experts, the AfCFTA, if fully implemented, would significantly boost African trade without exerting considerable pressure on climate change, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said.
Simon Mavel, a UNECA economist, presented a paper entitled "Greening the AfCFTA," showing that alignment with existing nationally determined contributions or the establishment of an African carbon market along with AfCFTA reforms would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"While there's a trade-off between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and economic benefits, establishing an African carbon market effectively curbs emissions while preserving the expected economic gains from AfCFTA," Mavel said.
On the other hand, regarding China's proposed BRI, Abas Omar, a doctoral student in economics at the China Research Institute of Economics and Management, said that the BRI serves as an alternative industrialization model for Africa.
"The BRI accelerated China-Africa investment. The majority of funds are in energy and infrastructure. Combining BRI membership and the value of infrastructure contributions is an indicator of the BRI's channel of impact on Africa's industrialization," Abas Omar said.
"The BRI significantly promoted Africa's industry value addition; and while infrastructure alone is not effective for African industrialization, the BRI augments infrastructure to promote African industrialization," he added.
Organized by the African Development Bank, ECA and the United Nations Development Program, the 18th edition of the conference brought together various stakeholders to discuss the challenges and potential of industrialization in Africa.