Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi–Ndaitwah says that once the full implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement commonly known as AfCFTA is realised, it will position Africa to move away from the dependency on foreign imports and become an industrialised continent.
The AfCFTA, was launched in July 2019, in Niamey, Niger and 25 countries on the continent including Namibia have ratified the agreement.
This is a sign that Namibia is serious about the transformation of African economies to increase productivity and efficiencies as well as the diversification of the competitiveness of African industries. Namibia is ready to work with other African countries for the realisation of Agenda 2063.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Christine Hoebes spoke on behalf of Ndaitwah.
“If we continue the culture of exporting raw materials out of the continent without value addition happening in Africa, we must know that we are exporting African jobs to other countries,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said, adding that this leaves African youth in poverty, forcing them to risk their lives on the high seas running after their jobs where they will be labelled as illegal immigrants.
“Time has come for African young people to leave the Continent as a choice and not to be driven out by poverty. With some parts of the world experiencing aging populations, Africa has the highest youth demography, and we have to take advantage of this,” she asserts. Noting that the youth are the most valuable asset that the continent has which must be given special attention and the right guidance, to make use of their full potential to ensure a balance shared prosperity in Africa.
The deputy PM said that time has also come for young people both male and female to be focused and pro-active in the areas of economic development for the political independence that the old leadership have achieved to be matched with economic emancipation.
Ndaitwah urges young people to develop interest to participate in all sectors of the economy especially the emerging sectors and opportunities coming from Namibia’s plans to develop a green hydrogen plant and in the oil as well as the gas industry with the recent discovery of oil in Namibia.
“The youth should be on the lookout for these opportunities and in the meanwhile equip themselves with skills needed for these sectors to grow. Other industries which also have great potential to move our continent to industrialisation and creating sustainable jobs are agriculture, followed by tourism and complimented by technology,” she said.
The Minister made these remarks at the occasion of the discover Namibia Intra-Africa Expo and Business summit held under the theme, “AFRICA CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA – A REALISABLE DREAM FOR AFTRICA” hosted by the Africa Economic Leadership Council in Swakopmund today.
The summit will span over a period of three days with a specific programme designed to steer conversations particularly aimed at building a self-sustaining African economy.
Since the establishment of the Africa Economic Leadership Council in Swakopmund, Erongo Region on 06 April 2021, has been striving through its programmes to realise the vision of
Africa which African Leaders have for the continent, as articulated in the AU Agenda 2063,
“The Africa We Want”.
This vision is for the total transformation of the continent’s human and natural resources including turning its mineral wealth into generational wealth for all Africans young and old, women and men.