The European Business Council for Africa


Africa’s journey towards an integrated continent reached an important milestone on 30 May 2019 with the entry into force of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) following ratification by 22 State Parties. The AfCFTA Agreement had earlier been signed by the first forty-four African Union (AU) Member States in Kigali, Rwanda on the 21 March 2018. This was historic not only because it marked the third stage of the roadmap set out in the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) of 1991 (Abuja Treaty); but also because of the speed at which this happened. Never before, in the treaty making history of the African Union has a legal instrument of such nature received 22 ratifications in such a short period of time.

During the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019, the 12th Extraordinary Summit of AU Heads of States and Government decided that 7 July of each year be designated as “the Africa Integration Day” (AID) without it being a holiday to commemorate the operationalisation of the AfCFTA Agreement and popularise economic integration across the continent as a lever of inclusive sustainable development.

Several activities are being organised by the African Union Commission to commemorate Africa Integration Day 2020. The inaugural panel discussion will focus on “COVID-19: The road ahead for African trade, economic integration and growth” where high powered panelists (H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat; Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank; Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, UNCTAD; H.E. Dr. Vera Songwe,    Executive Secretary of UNECA; Mr. Paolo Gomes, Afro-Champions Initiative; and H.E. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary General of COMESA) will discuss Africa’s economic integration future in the light of the current COVID-19 Pandemic which has exposed the vulnerability of African economies through disruption of global and regional supply chains due to government restrictions, and in some economies near collapse of the productive sector due to lockdowns.


The main objectives of the commemoration of Africa Integration Day are to:

  1. Celebrate the progress made in the implementation of the African Integration Agenda including AfCFTA and its achievement, that is expected to increase Intra-African trade and investment  thus generate economic growth and  create more job opportunities for millions of Africans, and provide opportunities for women and youth entrepreneurs.
  2. Disseminate and popularise the importance and challenges of regional integration in Africa including the status of Regional Integration in Africa and the progress made in AfCFTA and create a new positive mindset both on the continent and in the diaspora.
  3. Galvanise and mobilise Africans within the continent and abroad around the subsequent steps towards the accelerated and full operationalization of the ideals and objectives envisioned in the eventual realization of the Establishment of the African Economic Community as envisaged in the Abuja Treaty.

Enhance inclusiveness and inclusivity of Africa integration process and agenda with a view to achieving the Continent’s structural transformation and inclusive

Event format

The commemoration of the first edition of Africa Integration Day, which will be opened by His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat Chairperson of the African Union Commission, will be structured around four categories of activities:

  1. Conference/debate some of which will involve former Heads of State and Government;
  2. Initiatives/competitions launch with live demonstrations and interactions. Of particular interest are the rolling out of the AfCFTA NTB Online Mechanism, the launch of the Competition for the IATF2021 Youth Start-Up Pavilion, and the launch of the African e-commerce platform;
  3. Media outreach in the form of statement and press briefing; and
  4. Presentation of Prizes.

Expected outputs

  1. Increased knowledge and awareness of Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora on the integration matters in Africa in general, the AfCFTA in particular, and the current status of implementation;
  2. Intensify advocacy efforts aimed at AU Member States to ratify, domesticate and implement the AU legal instruments such as treaties, protocols related to the financial institutions, the AU Passport among others;
  3. Strengthen cooperation between AUC, RECs and other relevant actors  by improving information sharing, monitoring analysis and dissemination of progress and challenges;
  4. Increased knowledge of African on the Continent and in the Diaspora on recent initiatives to promote African integration in the context of the 4th industrial revolution and which constitute the low-hanging fruits of the AfCFTA;
  5. Improved awareness of the Report on Africa’s Integration;  
  6. Identification of appropriate options and approaches to accelerate Africa Integration process and revitalization of African economies, particularly in the post-COVID era; and
  7. Emergence of multistakeholder initiatives and programmes at the national, regional and continental levels to advance Africa integration.

Dates and Working Language

The Africa Integration Day Inaugural will be commemorated on 1 July 2020. Interpretation will be available in all AU official languages (Arabic, English, French and Portuguese).


Invitation to participate in the meeting will be extended to Business Leaders and Captains of Industry, National Private Sector Organizations and Associations and African Policy and Law Makers from AfCFTA State Parties, African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN Agencies, Research Institutions and African Civil Society Organisations, Think Tanks, among others.

Main Partners

African Energy Commission; AeTrade Group; African Development Bank (AfDB); African Export and Import bank (Afreximbank); African Economic Zones Organisation (AEZO); AfroChampions Initiative; AUDA-NEPAD; Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI); Regional Economic Communities (RECs); Trade Law Centre (TRALAC); United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); UNWomen.


The following people can be contacted for further information relating to this Conference:

  • Mr. Hussein Hassan, Acting Director, Department of Trade and Industry, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and
  • Mr. Jean-Denis Gabikini, Acting Director, Department of Economic Affairs and Head, Economic Integration & Regional Cooperation, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Links for the various events: information on the links to attend the various activities can be obtained from the focal points, whose email are included in the attached programme.

Webinar programme:

14:30 – 16:15 Intergenerational Discussion: The role of young people in accelerating Africa’s integration through the AfCFTA

18:00 – 20:00 Panel Discussion: Role of Economic Zones in supporting African Trade and Business Integration