EurAfrican 2021

The Dawn of African Internal Market: Expectations, Issues and Problems

The newly signed African free trade agreement is hailed as a huge step forward by some but criticized as a mammoth project with little chance of ever coming true by others. The reality is that in a world that’s increasingly divided where global trade institutions faces significant gridlocks, African cooperation is gaining momentum. The start of trading under the AfCFTA is expected to be a new era in Africa’s development journey and Africa could become a beacon of cooperation in an increasingly polarised world. Africa’s path should be supported strongly by non-African actors, notably by the EU, as main trade partner of Africa. This will involve political, technical and financial support as well keeping a close look on coherence of interactions between EU with African countries and the AfCFTA process

Making way for green growth and inclusive transitions

The EU and the AU debate green transitions from very different angles. While societal mobilisation around climate mitigation policies is a high priority for the EU, African countries prioritize adaptation and socio-economic issues, such as access to electricity, industrialization, and job creation.

The Green Deal is seen primarily as a European project. Yet, the EU can only reach its goals if it builds strong international partnerships that help green-up imports, meet green energy demand and help promote green transitions elsewhere. The partnership with Africa is particularly important in this regard. The climate emergency proclaimed by the European Parliament is not exclusive to the EU.

Gig Work and digital platforms and technologies: the future of (productive) work in Africa?

The future of work isn’t in the growth of full-time formal sector jobs. The future of work will be people working multiple gigs with “somewhat formal” entities. This is already true, and it will be for the foreseeable future.

While this sector of the gig economy has had a boost during the pandemic, many other areas of this important economic sector have suffered during the last year. Recognizing the impact that Covid-19 has had on African gig economy makes it important now to assess the status of digital gig work in Africa, raise some of its issues and explore how digital work can contribute to the economic and human development of this continent.

Fueling the Growth of Commerce – the supply chain dimension

Logistics are key for a sustainable, dependable source of food is equally essential. COVID-19 threatened food security in African nations that can least afford it. Since the pandemic hit, African logistics companies, especially those focused on last-mile delivery, have revved up to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks and facilitate clearances when the pandemic shut down much of society.

Supply chain services in Africa suffer from the same fundamental problems that other sectors in the region do: flawed infrastructure inflates prices and thwarts efficiency. The high rate of waste and the lack of effective distribution are two major problems plaguing the agribusiness value chain across African countries.

The new wave of e-logistics start-ups has sparked interest among investors. With the free trade zone within sight, investors are especially interested in logistics technology that promotes sustainability.

African Fashion Brands as bespoke cultural experiences

There has been a tremendous growth of African fashion brands, that are creating brands experiences inspired in African culture and identity. They are crossing borders, creating a cross-cultural dialogue through fashion by reinterpreting traditions with contemporary designs and cuts. Conscious fashion labels inspired by the beautiful African culture.

Through these young designers, the world has seen the beauty of maintaining a true cultural narrative, while engaging with fashionable ideas for design and look. Africa’s eager to express itself in a way that exudes cultural pride. It is exhilarating to see the level of workmanship and innovation that African creatives are producing right now.

The digital ID revolution: shedding light on “invisible people” and fighting the “Identification Gap”

Digital IDs can improve the implementation of welfare programs, innovative government payment and ID systems and access to trade platforms. The promise of digital identification to fight the huge “identification gap” could bring a wide range of benefits to development. They include promoting regional integration, security, social protection, mitigation of informality in economies, financial inclusion, reduction of poverty and corruption, healthcare insurance and delivery and act as a steppingstone an integrated digital economy in Africa.

The eagerness of African governments to build biometric ID systems, coupled with the wealth of international funds available, makes Africa a ripe and coveted market for biometric ID providers.