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African Continental Free Trade Area Sensitization roadshow: 3rd stop in Dakar for the Senegalese business community to exchange with the AfroChampions Initiative and the African Union Commission

May 30, 2018

African Continental Free Trade Area Sensitization roadshow: 3rd stop in Dakar for the Senegalese business community to exchange with the AfroChampions Initiative and the African Union Commission

Dakar, May 30, 2018 - The delegations of the AfroChampions Initiative and the African Union have chosen Dakar for the third stop of their roadshow to raise awareness on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In partnership with Sy Investments and ADS group, both members of the AfroChampions Club, a meeting was organized with several local business federations and agencies, including the National Confederation of Senegalese Employers (CNES), the ASEPEX (Senegalese Agency to Promote Exports), the UNACOIS (Senegalese Industry and Trade Federation), the COSEC (National Council of Chargers of Senegal) and CNP (Senegalese Employers Union); keynote speakers also included Ms Assome Aminata Diatta, Director for External Trade at the Ministry for Trade, Informal Sector, Consumption, promotion of local products and SME, and Mr Muhammad M. Jagana, Chairman of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The meeting focused on strategic issues, such as the elimination of non-tariff barriers, as well as other complimentary measures necessary for the success of the AfCFTA.

"Senegal is the second largest economy in Francophone West-Africa, and therefore represents a strategic market. We must convince local economic actors that the AfCFTA is a true opportunity for their activity" said His Excellency Mr. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner in charge of Trade and Industry of the African Union. "Senegal will play a pivotal role, particularly because of its relationship with North Africa and its efforts to deploy strategic infrastructures, and we need to help it become a driving force in the future AfCFTA" he added.

As managing Director of Sy Investments and Advisor to the AfroChampions Executive Committee, Alpha Sy explained how he had organized the meeting with the business community: "It was very important for us to bring together a broad range of business federations to propose to the African Union a 360 ° viewpoint on issues confronting Senegalese economic actors in relation to the AfCFTA. The participants were happy to be able to ask their questions directly to the AU Commission and, following the initial sensitization meetings in Accra and Abidjan, to learn more about the reactions and projects proposed in west African countries about the AfCFTA " .

As co-founder of the AfroChampions Initiative and Special Adviser to its Executive Committee, Samba Bathily, Founder and CEO of ADS Group, commented later on the event and the presence of the Gambian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the meeting which allowed "for a better appreciation of the specific challenges resulting from economic integration both for major African markets and for those of smaller size, but also the synergies that can be identified while the AfCFTA is implemented. Everyone needs to win, both the economic actors and the African states, and this is the philosophy behind the AfroChampions Charter for African Economic Integration presented by the AfroChampions Initiative ".

After Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal, the AfCFTA roadshow will continue in the Republic of Guinea on May 31, 2018; more tours are planned throughout this year in other regions of the continent, to mobilize local entrepreneurs but also to accompany the AfCFTA ratification process.


Note to editors

About the AfCFTA
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union. It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs and across Africa in general. The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources. Under the leadership of the AfCFTA Leader, Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, the AfCFTA agreement has been finalized by African Union Ministers for Trade on December 4, 2017 and signed by 44 African states on March 1, 2018 in Kigali under the aegis of the Rwandan Presidency of the African Union. It should be ratified by African Union member states throughout 2018, while discussions will continue on protocol and implementation processes until 2020.

About the African Union and its Department for Trade and Industry
The vision of the African Union is that of: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.” To help achieving this vision on the economic front, the Department for Trade and industry, under the leadership of Commissioner Albert Muchanga, leads on matters relating to intra-African economic integration, and notably the AfCFTA negotiations in collaboration with other departments in the AUC.

About the AfroChampions Initiative
The AfroChampions Initiative is a public-private partnership designed to galvanize African resources and institutions to support the emergence and success of African private sector’s multinational champions in the regional and global spheres. The Initiative was founded by the advisory firm Konfidants; and is Co-Chaired by President Thabo Mbeki and Mr. Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group. The Initiative is headquartered in Accra, Ghana, and works with regional and global partners and governments, with the support of other corporate and institutional partners including ADS Group, the Djondo Fellowship, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library and Thabo Mbeki Foundation. As a strategic platform within the Initiative, the AfroChampions Club, chaired by Mr Aliko Dangote, seeks to work with African governments to support policies and public-sector innovations that drive African economic integration, regional economic clusters and value chains.

About ADS Group
ADS Group (ADS) was launched in 2004 by Samba Bathily, a world-renowned African entrepreneur who pioneered the financial structuring of major infrastructure projects, particularly in the field of new technologies and clean energy. Under the ADS umbrella is a dynamic group active in the sectors of project finance; renewables and access to water; media, new technologies and communications; infrastructures, construction, resorts and real estate; vocational training and youth employment; retail industries and franchising. More recently in 2014, Samba co-founded Solektra International. Solektra International has launched an initiative that promotes awareness and usage of innovative solar solutions to provide African populations with access to clean electricity. To date, more than 1600 cities and villages have been positively impacted by Solektra International. Results include deployment of solar solutions such as the installation of street lamps, and domestic and community kits in 17 countries throughout Africa. ADS is also the mother-company of Afritek IT which aggregates ICT solutions and products for tailored support to African Governments, Institutions and the Private sector.

About Sy Investments
Sy Investments is a consulting and investment firm based in Dakar, Senegal, with numerous projects in the sub region, including in Guinea Conakry, in Ghana and in Nigeria. We offer our clients investment advice and project development solutions, including financial advice, debt and / or equity fundraising, structuring and assistance in case of a drawdown. Our clients and portfolio are diverse, ranging from small businesses to established leaders in the marketplace. Our expertise in the different sectors includes Logistics, Agro-Business, Real Estate with an agency active in the promotion and sale / rental of real property, Oil and Gas, Infrastructure, Tourism with our agency Sotratours. Among our clients, we can mention the Guarantee Fund for Priority Investments (FONGIP), the Ministry of Energy and Hydraulics of the Republic of Guinea (on the 4th Conakry Water Project (Great Falls)), the Strategic Sovereign Investment Fund (FONSIS) on the exploitation of oil and gas in Senegal; we are also currently working on financing for the storage of petroleum products in Senegal. Sy Investments has an excellent team of professionals whose main skills include Project Research, Economic and Financial Modelling, Reasonable Diligence Analysis, Structuring, Loan and Equity Financing.

Information and requests for interviews:

African Union Commission: Mr. Patient Atcho - AU Trade and Industry Division - atchop@africa-union.org - Whatsapp: + 1 403 629 8461 and Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou, Directorate of Information and Communication, AUC Tel. +251 911361185, E-mail: yamboue@africa-union.org

AfroChampions Initiative: Mrs. Anne-Elvire Esmel, Program and Communications Lead

ae@afrochampions.com - Whatsapp: + 33 6 46 41 77 84
Sy Investments: Mrs. Zara Deribe Sy , External Relations Manager - zara.sy@syinvestments.ch - Whatsapp: +221 77 6374985