The private sector, a catalyst for trade on the African continent in the era of Covid-19 & AfCFTA?

Since March 2020, one of the immediate fall-outs from the Covid 19 pandemic has been an inevitable reminder of interconnection of different countries and populations. Very quickly governments understood the importance of working on protecting the interests of their country and their people, but also being aware of the realities and practices of their neighbours.

It is a requirement for governments to ensure they had all the information and data they needed to make the best possible decisions; whether from a health point of view – epidemiological surveillance, vaccination,… – or economic – logistics chain, border closures, layoffs …

Exchanges between countries: a discussion reserved for high circles?

In the case of Africa, with the establishment of the African Free Trade Area, i.e. a market of more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, a market composed of countries with different socioeconomic realities and unequal levels of development, benchmarking and the sharing of experiences were of course re-emphasised and reinforced at the political and continental level, and by international institutions such as WHO, African Union, etc.

In other words, to stimulate international collaboration to put in place better management at national levels

However, these discussions and benchmarks seemed to

1. Only take place at the political level with, sometimes, a fracture with the reality on the ground and lacked concrete actions

2. Suffer from the absence in the conversation of strategic players, regardless of their size, with knowledge of market realities

4. Hindered by the linguistic divide between the different regions

However, companies and civil societies have also had to adapt and pivot their activities and benchmark what was being done elsewhere in order to survive this crisis.

From a national vision to a continental vision

Aware of these challenges and of the opportunity to set up a sustainable framework for practical consultation, especially in light of the importance of reflection post Covid 19 on the organization of healthcare systems – put to the test on a global level-, Pitch World Fast took the decision to launch an African-wide initiative.

Since 2016, the company has managed projects in Algeria with the active participation of the country’s health authorities with the objective of improving healthcare systems through the benchmarking of good international practices with the involvement of all stakeholders.

It is in this context that in June 2020 the first edition of the African Health Webinars took place on “New Health Systems” the participation of 6 African countries.

Build on what exists and not duplicate

This initiative was therefore renewed in the second half of the year with a focus on two areas: healthcare and economy. These two pillars can ensure, in addition to the education sector, the sustainable emergence of the continent

This quickly became a forum for real exchange and openness for participants, all ministries’ directors or advisers, eager to have more information on the reality of their neighbouring countries and to discuss common and complementary actions, particularly in view of the lack of data, transparency and better communication between the countries of the continent, sometimes in relation to the language barrier.

This made it possible to create a real exchange network at the strategic and operational level, allowing the future of Africa to be discussed in a coherent and cohesive manner.

It is not a matter of making redundant or of duplicating the actions carried out by the likes of the African Union, the WHO, UNIDO, but on the contrary to integrate them, and build on what already exists, initiate a practical synergy or even federate approaches.

In 2021, it is more than 15 African countries which are participating in what became a real platform for the exchange of experiences and ideas in an environment open to sharing, co-creation and collaboration.

While being a private company, Pitch World Fast has positioned itself as a catalyst for pan-African exchange, sharing and construction.

Chiraz Bensemmane

To have have more information, you can go to section “Africa Webinar”. Please note that there is a fee to access to these webinars.

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