Leaders of Africa

Leaders Voices with Maame Awinador · A conversation about trade and Pan-African integration

Maame shares her thoughts on the importance of trade to further Pan-African integration.

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“… if we are to enjoy the full benefits of Africa’s rich resources, we must unite to plan for our total defence and the full exploitation of our material and human means, in the full interests of all our peoples.”

-Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Many argue that African countries have not fully enjoyed the rich resources that the continent is endowed. This is due to the fact that many African countries are in the business of trading their raw materials rather than final products. Furthermore, some argue that African countries do not have much bargaining power over commodity prices on the international market. In addition, trading among African countries is very low compared to other world regions. African countries tend to trade bilaterally, particularly with Western countries and China. As indicated by Dr. Nkrumah, for Africa countries to fully enjoy the full benefits of their own resources their unity is paramount.

The integration of Africa has been the long-term dream of many Pan-Africanists, and gradually, the African Union and some of its member states have been working toward this goal. Africa Union Agenda 2063 desires to create an “Africa We Want” based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. In particular, the Agenda embraces the creation of an integrated continent. As part of this initiative, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seeks to build one of the largest trade blocs and single market for goods and services, with the free movement of investment and a customs union to streamline international trade. 

So far, 54 countries have signed the agreement with the exception of Eritrea, and as of July 2019, 27 African countries have ratified the agreement. This allows the African Union to begin the implementation of the agreement. The target date for full implementation is July 1, 2020. This trade agreement is an important first step toward further Africa integration.

Leaders Voices features a conversation with Ms. Maame Darkowa Awinador, who is an international trade law expert and an advocate for the AfCFTA. Maame discusses the feasibility of AfCFTA trade policy and its implications for African countries, particularly smaller economies.

Maame is a strong advocate for the implementation of AfCFTA. Maame received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pune in India. Then, she attended the University of Cape Town for her post-graduate honors degree in International Relations and Politics and also completed an M.Phil in International Law. During this episode, we learn about how Maame’s experience growing up as a daughter of a Ghanaian diplomat has shaped her Pan-African outlook.

Maame has a variety of experiences in civil society. She previously worked as the Local Head of Coderina, which promotes STEM education in Africa. She has also supported South-South News and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect as part of United Nations initiatives. She is a member of the Mothers of Africa, a women’s non-government organization in Ghana and is the national head of Young African Think’rs. Presently, Maame is the Director of Operations and Head of Administration at Sakam Savana. Sakam Savana serves as a trade and supply company which seeks to facilitate the supply of goods and services in sub-Saharan Africa.

About Maame Awinador

  • International trade law expert and an advocate for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
  • Director of Operations and Head of Administration at Sakam Savana
  • Experience supporting civil society initiatives and organizations, including Coderina, Mothers of Africa, and Young African Think’rs

The views expressed in this episode are the guest’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Leaders of Africa.

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