The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo said with support from leaders across business, policy, and the cultural sector, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) project could potentially elevate the cultural economy in Africa.
Dr. Kiyaramo who stated this when he received the Civic Society Coordinator on AfCFTA Awareness Campaign, Mr. Udokop Nsima in his office in Yenagoa, recently, maintained that the AfCFTA agreement, ratified in 2021, promises a broader economic integration, with a view to attracting investments to Africa, as well as boost trade, provide better jobs, reduce poverty, and increase shared prosperity in the continent.
He said the pillar of Africa’s economy and its identity lifeblood, lies in the unique and varied cultural sectors, such as entertainment, fashion, arts and crafts, cinema, visual, and performing arts, culinary arts, sports, tourism, music and textiles among other service sectors.
According to Dr. Kiyaramo, Africa’s cultural economy needed serious attention, given its potential to provide additional value to the economic growth and development of African countries, describing the African Continental Free Trade Area initiative as a landmark milestone for the continent.
The governor’s aide also underlined the need for cohesiveness, interconnectivity and unity among African countries, saying that the pitfalls of the looming climate catastrophe and the general economic strife across the globe have rather made collaborations more important than ever.
He noted that by enforcing the rules of origin, the African continental trade agreement seeks to spur more locally manufactured products, including textiles, reiterating that a successfully implemented trade agreement, complemented with investments in the cultural sector would generate billions of dollars the for the continent.
Dr. Kiyaramo pointed out that in tandem with the overall push for AfCFTA, efforts in the tourism sector have focused on African countries liberalizing their visa requirements, resulting in more countries permitting visa-free access to African travelers.
He called for collaborations between the private sector and governments across the continent to champion and providing financial support for Africa-wide cultural programming, inspired by AfCFTA’s goal of greater regional integration. These activities would serve to engage the public, and further build on the concept of pan-African identity.
Earlier, the Civic Society Coordinator on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Awareness Campaign, Mr. Udokop Nsima had briefed the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Tourism on his organisation’s proposal to Bayelsa State government to host AfCFTA Awareness Football Tournament Kickoff Ceremony proposed to take place from June 22-23, 2023.
According to Mr. Nsima, hosting the awareness football tournament will grant the state ample opportunity to
showcase its investment potentials to Africa, considering her strategic position in the Gulf of Guinea, which makes Bayelsa one of the fulcrums of AfCFTA, because its marine resources.
He added: “This is an opportunity to
bring the AfCFTA awareness closer to Bayelsa people to ensure businessmen in the state are better integrated into the value chains, jobs and opportunities stemming from the AfCFTA”.