Deputy Minister of International Relations Alvin Botes said on Sunday that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was regarded as an important repository in an effort to negate poverty in South Africa and the African continent.

The International Relations Subcommittee, chaired by Botes, hosted a virtual Umrabulosession on Sunday.

The ANC panel included Lindiwe Zulu, Wamkele Mene and Peter Katwesige, and the respondents were Dr Philani Mthembu, Dr Sithembile Mbete and Mntuwoxolo Ngudle.

Botes said the session sought to imagine the African world within a globalised world order that has become volatile, more uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

He said Africa was being confronted by cross-cutting issues, including global warming, terrorism, global pandemics such as Covid-19, and cybersecurity.

According to Zulu, regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of international relations must always continue.

“We learn lessons from the international environment and everything that is happening, including how the world is trying to deal with this drastic Covid-19.

“As we gather today, below 2% of Africa’s population has been vaccinated and approximately 20 African countries are in the middle of the third wave.”

Zulu said Africa has 17% of the world’s population of which 60% are under the age of 25.

This represents 3% of the world’s GDP, “with 3% of the world’s trade and claims only 2% of the world’s manufacturing output compared with Intra-Asia Trade, which is 52%; Intra-North America Trade, at 50%; and Intra-EU Trade, which is at 70%. Intra-Africa Trade is small, covering only 16 to 18% of traded goods. Among other factors, the low level of Intra-Africa Trade results from the continuity of colonialism into present Africa and the exclusion of the informal sector by the market research methodologies.”

Katwesige, who is a monitoring and evaluation officer at African Peer Review, said the youth should tap into the urban market by using social media platforms and be result-oriented individuals.

“Growth takes a greater process, it requires time.”

To tap into the labour market, Katwesige said, the African youth should embrace a butterfly approach.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za

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