A new study has found that even accountancy and finance professionals are uniquely placed to optimise the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through their super-connector abilities, there is a low level of awareness of the AfCFTA among them.
The research jointly carried out by the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which surveyed more than 1,600 professionals across 22 professional accountancy organisations in Africa found that there is a concerningly low level of awareness of, and participation in, the AfCFTA by accountancy and finance professionals.
The report copied to Ghana Business News is titled: ‘Journey to AU2063: Professional Accountants Empowering the AfCFTA’, takes a deep dive into the current state of trade in Africa and highlights the critical barriers to intra-continental trade in realising the potential impact of the AfCFTA.
Trading under the AfCFTA which begun January 1, 2021, with a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion is expected to bolster intra-African trade and stimulate economic growth and development in Africa.
Some progress has been made since the start of the AfCFTA, chief among the steps is the launch of the commercial operations of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), by Afreximbank, the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat.ACCA AfCFTA Report
With PAPSS, it is now possible to conduct intra-African trade payments in African national currencies.
For instance, according to Professor Benedict Oramah, the President of Afreximbank, a Nigerian can buy a product from Ghana and pay in Naira and the Ghanaian seller will receive payment in cedis.
“Overtime PAPSS will spread across Africa. When that happens, we aim to save the continent at least $5 billion in transfer and settlement charges, while returning to our continent trades that are diverted to non-African markets due to use of third currencies to pay for intra-African trade.
PAPSS constitutes the foundation on which strong and convertible national currencies will emerge, and Afreximbank is very proud to be backing settlements under this system with a facility which could reach an amount of $3 billion, when PAPSS goes fully continental,” he said recently at the AU Africa Industrialisation Summit in Niamey, Niger.
Citing the ACCA’s 2022 report titled, Accounting for a Better World it said that demonstrates how critical the evolving role of accountancy and finance professionals is for creating a better world, identifying seven priority areas for the profession.
“If Africa is to achieve its grand agenda for trade liberalisation, accountancy and finance professionals must improve their understanding of how to interpret these priorities in the context of AU2063. Following the State of the Profession in Africa report (PAFA, PwC and ACCA 2022), the aim of this research was to develop a roadmap for accountancy and finance professionals to overcome identified gaps in and barriers to leveraging the AfCFTA for intra-continental trade,” it said.
Jamil Ampomah, Director – Africa at ACCA, said: “AU2063 provides an opportunity for accountancy and finance professionals in Africa to demonstrate their priorities for building a better world through trade integration in Africa. Our partnership with PAFA enables us to join forces to strengthen the profession’s influence and effectiveness as a driver of socio-economic development across national, continental and global ecosystems.”
The survey makes a set of recommendations for harmonising and improving the efficiency of relevant ‘ecosystems’ – professional services, institutions, business, finance, and policy and political – with the accountancy profession playing a linking role across them. Through this role, accountancy and finance professionals can bring different groups together, enable transactions and build trust between key players in intra-continental trade, it said.
By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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