Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) today celebrates Africa Day, which commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU) which was created May 25, 1963.
This year’s theme is “Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent”, which aims to mobilize political support in the eradication of child malnutrition on the African continent. While the African continent has a significant amount of arable land, at 874 million hectares, well north of 65 percent of this land is of low soil fertility and requires integrated land and water management practices. to ensure that the more than 70 million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa do not experience declining productivity, leading to greater food insecurity.
While the above statistics are grim, the enactment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTFA) was designed to address some of these challenges and increase intra-continental trade, while eliminating tariffs and other barriers.
Today, Africa trades more with continents such as Europe and Asia than with its other 54 nations. It is indeed a tragedy that to travel to countries like Senegal from Southern Africa, there are no direct flights, and it is likely to have to endure two stopovers. It is of crucial importance for the AU to consider how best to eliminate these non-tariff barriers which hinder the goal of greater socio-economic integration of the continent that the founding fathers had in 1963.
For us, as VISET, we rely on AFCTFA to facilitate the long-standing profession of cross-border trade, as tariffs are removed and customs protocols synchronized to eliminate abuse and exploitation of informal traders who represent more than 70% on the continent.
Our organization has made inroads in establishing chapters not only in Southern Africa, but already has collaborative partnerships in Uganda and Sudan to collectively advocate for improved working conditions and recognition of labor actors. informal economy at continental level.
Wishing the rest of Africa a happy commemoration, we implore our leaders to redouble their efforts to ensure the eradication of hunger and malnutrition through collaborative partnerships and improved trade.