This meeting, organized in close collaboration with the University of Ottawa, focused on the theme of “the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zlecaf), its implementation and its impact on states and governments, businesses and the diaspora”.
In addition to the African diplomatic corps, this meeting was attended by representatives of countries or accredited international organizations, teachers from the University of Ottawa, representatives of civil society and many African students in Canada.
The interactive exchanges that shaped the debates had several main themes led by ambassadors from different regions of Africa.
Right at the beginning of his speech, Bafétigué Ouattara, Ambassador of the Ivory Coast to Canada, on behalf of ECOWAS, emphasized the link between the implementation of the Zlecaf and poverty reduction, stressing the enormous potential that Zlecaf represents for the sustainable growth of the African continent.
Based on a World Bank report, he said Zlecaf is expected to bring significant economic and social benefits to Africa, including higher incomes, reduced poverty and accelerated development. economic growth.
Most notably, it will also improve access to foreign direct investment through incentive measures and the lifting of several restrictions, promote SME development, train local businesses, facilitate technology transfer by encouraging multinational companies to set up manufacturing units in Africa. This leads to better integration of the continent into the global value chain.
With regard to host country Canada, one of the most developed countries in the world, the diplomat appealed for greater academic and scientific cooperation with the aim of promoting “real technology transfer”, the only alternative that would allow Africa to transform its raw materials can.
“We can no longer be the states that only have to sell their raw materials. We must emphasize the local transformation of our products. This is the kind of cooperation we need to strive for with countries like Canada,” he said.
For this reason, he called on Africa to effectively and fully implement the Zlecaf, which is beneficial for the country worldwide in the sense that it allows to attract foreign investors, significantly reduce poverty, provide jobs for young people and ensure that companies can benefit from it when innovating.
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