AU unveils AfCFTA digital hub, vaccine passport to boost trade


Map of Africa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The African Union (AU) has launched a digital trading platform dubbed the AfCFTA Hub in efforts aimed at interconnecting national, regional and private digital applications to boost the ability of African SMEs to expand their scope. The launch was made during the Boma of Africa hosted to mark this year’s Africa Integration Day.

With the launch of the hub, every SME or start-up in the African Union is now entitled to a free AfCFTA Number that will aid them in the export of products across Africa through improved logistics, networking of retail outlets, integration of fintech and brand development support. The financing of the program, AU says, will be provided through the affiliated AfCFTA Caravan Initiative.

In the new trade technology, the AU has incorporated a supply chain component known as ProPerSeals to manage the potential negative side effects of the AfCFTA trade liberalisation scheme such as dumping, smuggling and counterfeiting.

During the event, the African Vaccine Passport was also unveiled to allow every AU citizen acquire a free digital proof of their Covid-19 vaccinations that can be verified around the world. The Common Vaccine Passport is embedded in the continental eHealth Backbone.

At the Boma, several AU Heads of States and business executives held discussions to examine the key collective strategies that the continent can use to achieve recovery from the Covid-19 crisis as well as manage the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Foreign governments of India, Singapore as well as the United Kingdom pledged to support Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and AfroChampions in relation to the roll out of Trusted Vaccines and the establishment of the eHealth platform.