President Mnangagwa, in Davos attending the World Economic Forum, is today expected to contribute to and co-chair a breakfast discussion around Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The President will co-chair the session alongside with Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Namibia President Hage Geingob, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Running under the theme “Friends of the African Continental Free Trade Area”, the breakfast meeting will explore how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of AfCFTA.
AfCFTA is comprised of 55 countries with a population of 1,3 billion and combined GDP of about US$3,4 trillion, making it the largest free trade area in the world, both by area and by the number of countries.
The World Bank estimates that, if implemented properly, by 2035 AfCFTA is set to lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and 68 million from moderate poverty.
The same World Bank study finds that the AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by 81 percent by 2035. Currently, 54 of the 55 African countries have signed the agreement, and 41 countries have ratified it.
Zimbabwe is finalising its tariff offer under AfCFTA and hopes to reap huge trade benefits under the agreement, according to Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, in a speech last month.
Mr Borge Brende, the President of the World Economic Forum, will moderate the session while closing remarks will be delivered by Ms Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Later in the day, President Mnangagwa is expected to deliver opening remarks at a workshop themed “Unlocking New Investment and Services Markets”.
The workshop comes as vast sums of money are available for productive investments in emerging markets, but due to regulatory bottlenecks “this capital is not flowing to where it is most needed”.
The workshop will thus explore how public-private collaboration can accelerate the scale and impact of investment in emerging markets.
Another event where President Mnangagwa will participate is a roundtable on Restoring Peace and Order amid intensifying geopolitical fractures undoing progress on key global goals.
Mid-morning, the President will attend another informal gathering of world economic leaders roundtable discussion on “Resilience for Sustainable Growth”.
The discussion, to be attended by political and economic leaders alone, without the media, will focus on the conflict in Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change on the “brittle nature of food systems, global supply chains and energy networks”.
Participants are expected to come up with steps necessary to build greater resilience at both the global and national levels.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s packed programme, Stuart Comberbach, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, Switzerland, said the WEF is a very important forum for Zimbabwe and the fact that Zimbabwe was invited means it is being recognised among the international community of nations.
He said the WEF is not for speeches, “which are actually actively discouraged”, but interactive discussions that proffer strategies and solutions.
The whole idea is to allow participants to be very open and honest on the challenges being faced globally and what can be done to address them, according to Ambassador Comberbach.