The Development Cooperation, Aid and Transformation Project run by the Midlands State University’s (MSU), Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Development Studies in conjunction with the University of Zimbabwe’s Centre for Applied Social Studies and the Great Zimbabwe University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropological Studies will hold a Virtual International Conference on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) from 27 to 29 October 2021.
The virtual International Conference will bring together regional, local and international partners and delegates. It will run under the banner, “African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) challenges on deepening sustainable integration and transformation of rural-urban and resettled communities in Southern and Sub Saharan Africa in a COVID-19 epidemic, Agenda 2030; Africa Agenda 2063 and Fourth Industrial Revolution Phase”.
Conference Director and MSU Development Studies Senior Lecturer Dr Godfrey Chikowore confirmed that all is set for the generation game-changer AfCFTA Conference.
“Representatives from the ZIMRUSS Consultancy Ltd; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), World Bank (WB), Pan African Business Women Association (PABWA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Galelio Holdings Ltd; University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of Warsaw (UW), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), African Union (AU) and the Regional Agricultural and Environmental Innovations Africa (RAEIN Africa) are the main players of the conference. As stalwarts in development cooperation projects across nations, regions and continents their participation lends credence to this generation changing MSU AFCFTA.
“We are very grateful to the Ministry of International Affairs and Trade represented by Hon. Mrs Beatrice Mutetwa, who will be our conference chairperson. We also appreciate the overwhelming support that we have received from the Government as well as our very own University Vice-chancellor, Professor V. N. Muzvidziwa who will be gracing the conference flanked by many other strategic and key partners,” said Dr Chikowore.
Local attendees include the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Zimbabwe Open University, Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Galileo Holdings, and the Ministries of Environment, Tourism, Climate Change and Adaptation, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Power and Energy; Min of Housing and Social Amenities, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Ministry Higher Tertiary Education Science Technology and Innovation, Office of the President and Cabinet, Ministry of Youth, Women’s Affairs Small and Medium Enterprises Development, and many others.
The AfCFTA conference seeks to sensitise stakeholders about the historical development of the free trade area in Africa; promote African interdependency and increase understanding of the AfCFTA in the livelihoods of the marginalised majority in rural-urban Africa. Furthermore, it intends to promote policy, innovation, value chains, and value addition industrialisation efforts and programmes (by donors; governments, and private sector) in rural-urban and resettled communities of Zimbabwe, Southern and Sub Saharan Africa.
Some of the areas to be covered during the conference are climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies especially the Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) that should inform the AfCFTA industrialisation drive through its implementation phase across member states.
The MSU 2021 AfCFTA Conference will culminate in the publication of a dedicated Special Conference Edited Issue entitled “The AfCFTA: Industrialisation Driven Rural-Urban Transformation in Southern and Sub Saharan Africa”.
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