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5 Zimbabwean entrepreneurs win big in AfCFTA Caravan Prize

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2021 at 06:41hrs | Views
The AfCFTA Secretariat rewarded winners of the AfCFTA Caravan Prize with five young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs joining a list of finalists and seme-finalists of enterprising entrepreneurs with potential to drive inter-Africa's trade.

The five Piwai Nigel Chikasha of Alley Capital Group, Tapuwa Ndongwe (Wecol Limited), Mildreight Muzendu (Africa Free Trade Area), Langton Chirinda (Gundi Consulting) and Rukudzo Chikonye of Agora were among 19 African businesspeople chosen from 1 500 entries.

The awards were held on Wednesday with the AfCFTA Secretariat hosting the event with its partners on the 4D, ProPer and Caravan Initiatives, AfroChampions and the Arab Bank for Economic Development.

According to the AfCFTA Secretariat, a key criterion for the selection of the finalists and semi-finalists was for an organisation and its founders to conceive and implement models, concepts, plans, products and/or services that, at scale, can contribute to the objectives of AfCFTA and the broader Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

"The finalists and semi-finalists were selected by jurors with a rich background in the development and economic transformation sectors. Their selection further reflects their institutions' strong commitment to AfCFTA, SMEs, startup innovation and inclusive growth.  They had the difficult task of picking the AfCFTA Caravan Prize semi-finalists, finalists, and eventual winners," the Secretariat said.

AfCFTA Secretariat secretary general Wamkele Mene hailed the finalists and semi-finalists for sharing the vision for the continental free trade area.

"If there is one hope that animates everything we do as a Secretariat, it is that AfCFTA must become the most inclusive and most digital Free Trade Area and process in the World.

"By focusing on SMEs, digital innovation, gender and equitable transformation, the AfCFTA Caravan Prize will serve as a continental beacon for Agenda 2063," he said.

BADEA director general Dr Sidi Ould Tah said: "Africa cannot take advantage of AfCFTA to industrialise and eradicate poverty until three things happen: SMEs absorb tech to boost productivity, wealth from productivity growth is equitably shared, and the scale of growth becomes regional. The AfCFTA Caravan Laureates exemplify how we can achieve all 3 goals, hence our enthusiastic support as BADEA for this initiative."

Chikasha's Alley Capital Group uses battery-powered drones to spray pesticides on farms and it is a smart agriculture company specialising in crop spraying services using advanced precision drones.

Wecol Limited, a subsidiary of Greennovations Limited, a company co-founded by Ndongwe and his partners, is an energy development company structured to address Africa's energy needs through tailored solutions.

In an interview, Australia-based Chirinda expressed excitement in participating and be recognized in the AfCFTA Caravan adding that it was the best platform to realise his dream of industrializing Africa come true.

"I want to be at the centre of creating the African Century and make Africa the best place to be and avoid the brain drain the continent is suffering from at the moment. We have the best leader in the Secretary General of the AfCFTA and I am pleased to be part of his colleagues to drive Africa forward through this AfCFTA Caravan. I cannot wait to begin this journey," he said.

Gundi Consulting Africa Pty Ltd is registered in Kigali, Rwanda and specialises in consulting services promoting the rapid adoption, training and implementation of 3D Additive Manufacturing across Africa.

"Africa is blessed with vast mineral resources which are used in the manufacturing of final products such as assembling kits for automobiles, agricultural equipment, computer equipment, aerospace equipment, defence equipment and many others," he said.

The AfCFTA Caravan Prize celebrates Africa's SMEs, start-ups, social enterprises and innovator entities keen on harnessing the benefits that will be created by AfCFTA to expand continentally and flourish at the grassroots.

Growing out of the earlier AfCFTA Vision and Caravan Africa competitive grants programmes, the Prize also seeks to discover transformative ideas to expedite AfCFTA implementation.

The AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 and was approved by the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012 which adopted the decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area.

It aims at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa's trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa's common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

The AfCFTA Agreement was signed on March 21, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda and came into force on May 30 the following year.

The scope of the AfCFTA Agreement includes the Protocol on Trade in Goods, the Protocol on Trade in Services, and the Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes, the Protocol on Investment, the Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights, the Protocol on Competition, the Protocol on Digital Trade, and the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe