Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world

“With only around 7% of SMEs in Africa operating formally, the vast majority are not poised to benefit from the AfCFTA. Therefore, policymakers must first identify viable means to move the 93% of SMEs towards formalization by developing a value proposition with incentives in place to make formalization appealing. An obvious one would be leveraging technology to build technical platforms for these SMEs to access finance and information on how to expand their markets as SMEs in the informal sector would find this attractive.”

Ody Akhanoba Manager of Strategy and Innovation, Afreximbank

“Banks and financial institutions are currently not integrated across borders in Africa, making it challenging for smaller businesses to open even a simple bank account in a foreign country, in addition to challenges on currencies, interest rates and taxes. African port systems, with their bureaucracy and tariffs imposedon imports and exports, pose further challenges for cross border trade. Official documents should be made available in the commonly spoken languages on the continent, such as English, French, and Portuguese. As it matures, the AfCFTA must therefore aim to create regulations and guidelines to simplify these processes andminimize bureaucracy across all touch points.”

Dr. Anino Emuwa Founder, Avandis Consulting

“Creating a regional home-grown innovation framework is important, which is what the new AfCFTA intends to provide to enable African businesses to scale beyond borders. Having a pan-African framework for intellectual property (IP) rights is also important to ensure that African innovations are protected through standardized policies. Right now, we have two systems, one in west Africa (OAPI) and another one in southern African countries (ARIPO). The AfCFTA could create a unified, legally backed IP system at a pan-African level to ensure that African innovators can protect their inventions.”

Pauline Koelbl Founder & CEO, AfriProspect & ShEquity


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