October 21, 2017 – Samba Bathily “the AfroChampions Club is a major step forward”
The official creation of the AfroChampions Club, described as “a new exchange platform mobilizing African multinationals to accelerate the economic integration of the continent” was announced at an inaugural meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, on October 18, 2017.
Business leaders representing thirteen African countries joint Nigeria’s business hub, at the invitation of Club President Aliko Dangote and alongside figures such as Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa and President of the AfroChampions Initiative or Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.
Serving the Continental Free Trade Area
The participants in this inaugural meeting first considered recommendations for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), a project led by the African Union since 2012, which should be in principle effective as of 2017.
The recommendations of the club “will be the compiled in an official contribution to the African Union,” said the statement, which adds that the first debates focused on visa formalities and facilitation of intra-African trade.
Participants also reflected on the drafting of an “AfroChampions Charter”, which aims to “define the contribution of African multinationals to the development of the continent”. They spoke of the importance of working with local ecosystems, supporting infrastructure projects and accompanying the industrialization of the continent and its entry into the digital age.
A commitment of African multinationals to better invest in Africa
“We chose to work on issues of interest to all Africans. The African Free Trade Area (Free Trade Area between SADC, Comesa and EAC, Ed) will give us the opportunity to travel and work easily across the continent; it is also the creation of regional value chains, integrating SMEs and developing new skills in our countries, “said Aliko Dangote.
“The AfroChampions Charter is a commitment by African multinationals to invest more in Africa, in projects with high economic and social impact. Our primary responsibility is to provide opportunities and jobs for our youth. I was very pleased to see the consensus on this topic and I hope to see many other business leaders signing this Charter soon, “he added.
A progress report on the work of Club AfroChampions is planned at the next African Union summit in January 2018.