Speedy implementation of free movement of persons, goods and services is critical in benefiting from opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says Mr Ken Sharpe, a Zimbabwean business mogul.
Sharpe, also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), West Property, Zimbabwe, made the assertion during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.
AfCFTA goal is to encourage trade, commerce and address the continent’s developmental challenges.
Sharpe said that the call was pertinent to reflect the true power of the continent and for accelerated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
He, however, noted that five years into ratification of the AfCFTA, Africans were yet to benefit from the agreement due to several reasons.
“The are several reasons but the most important and pressing one is freedom of movement.
“You see Dubai was built because the visionary Sheik saw that creating the world’s largest airport and airlines would bring capital and investment to his country proves the point.
“We can’t fly directly between most African countries and visas are still required between many of our countries, thus restricting people moving affordably and easily.
“If people can’t have freedom of movement, then never mind moving goods because with all the trade tariffs and barriers that block trade, it is no wonder we are standing still.
“The message is for our leaders to wake up and make it happen like yesterday, for our future depends on it,” he said.
Sharpe also advocated the need for players in the real estate space to leverage technology to provide services that allow real time information relating to properties to address housing deficits in Africa.
According to him, Africans lived in a century where carbon oils is absolute, while the new fuel is data.
To this end, the real estate mogul said data and services could be tailor-made to provide services such as tracking and reducing electricity consumption, home automation and other offerings.
“Also, a possible solution to the housing deficit could be to create a shared stay app, like a shared ride where rooms unoccupied in homes could be rented out.
“Office vacancies can be converted to residential. However, data is needed to match the supply and demand needs, especially for low income earners,” he said.
He added that green and innovative solutions in the housing segment were critical to preserve the planet and have a sustainable climate.
“For example, at WestProp, we are already working with alternative energy solutions by using solar, gas and grey water.
“Smart homes allow electronically controlled valves and switches that allow you to turn your electricity and even water off to your geyser, control light switches and access and alarm control all from the touch of a button on your cell phone,” he said.
He urged upcoming entrepreneurs to focus on their core business, product or service and not spread too thin or be distracted to engender sustainability and success on the long run.
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