By Fatsani Gunya

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame have called for a swift concerted and deliberate efforts towards growing Africa’s private sector.

The two leaders observe that the private sector is key to countering the continent’s ever rising socio-economic challenges.

Chakwera and Kagame sharing notes

Chakwera and Kagame made these sentiments on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 when the two co-chaired a breakfast session held on the sidelines of the on-going World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The breakfast session was aimed at engaging private sector players from around the world on the investment and trade opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

This is the first year since the establishment of what has become the world’s largest free trade area, with the two leaders promising their presentations on the Pan African motivation.

“African challenges call for African solutions. Living in a global village also means not all problems we face are of our own making,” said Chakwera.

The President also hinted that collaboration was key and that there was no better sector to lead the continent towards achieving its fullest potential than an empowered private sector.

He said: “It therefore calls for our concerted efforts with fellow African economies to explore both bilateral and multilateral opportunities within the continent for the betterment of Africa in particular  and the globe at large,” said Chakwera.

In his remarks, Kagame concurred with Chakwera’s sentiments by arguing that Africa ought to have risen much earlier against issues that have been dragging the continent’s growth.

Like Chakwera, the Rwandan leader was of the idea of Africa cutting the proverbial umbilical chord on external support especially on matters reflecting directly on African lives.

He called for members to always be proactive amid challenging global economic trends.

“We have to avoid to always be dependent on others for things that our lives depend on,”  Kagame said.

Kagame also agreed with Chakwera on health as an area that every African leader ought to have prioritised in their respective country’s agenda.

The region is still reeling from a crippling economy that was largely impacted negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic and some natural disasters including cyclones.

Explained Kagame: “Africa need to stay proactive, always. Experience has taught us that being reactive is costly. 

“Health is the new currency to socio-economic development. As such we have to act as if there is going to be a pandemic sooner or later. We have to have the capacity to test, treat and administer vaccines by ourselves.”

After the breakfast session the two leaders held one-on-one talks during which Chakwera spoke highly of his counterpart for transforming Rwanda’s socio-economic sector against all odds.

Chakwera argued that Kagame has made his country an envy of the region and created it into some model economy across the world.

“To that end, President Kagame and I have agreed to work together in boosting trade between Malawi and Rwanda,” he said.

The two have also resolved to ensure that the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation between their respective countries progresses as intended to finalise various agreements aimed at strengthening ties in areas of Trade, Agriculture, Diplomacy, Security and Development.

“As a forward-looking economy, we are determined to engage anyone with shared interests so as to achieve socioeconomic growth of our citizens,” said Chakwera.

January 1 2021 became a historic moment for Africa as the continent opened its doors to traders both large and small, subsequently making Africa the world’s largest free trade area though the  AfCFTA.

To facilitate sustainable growth, the AfCFTA Business Forum was set up with an aim of exploring how intra-Africa trade and the African Continental Free Trade Area can develop the continent.

The Business Forum as African Union’s premier multi-stakeholder platform is comprised of Heads of State and Government, private sector leaders, SMEs, civil society and other stakeholders.

In the year just gone by, the forum has been focusing on what the start of trading could mean for Africa’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19; and what businesses need to do to successfully position themselves in this vast, new market.

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