Africa Day is observed annually on May 25 to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union, on this day in 1963.
With this year’s celebration marking the 60and anniversary of the independence of several African countries, we look at the many ways the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) continues to take action at the national, regional and local levels to make business and trade work for everyone in Africa.
Promoting entrepreneurship across Africa
ICC and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have launched the ICC-ECA Entrepreneurship Center to organize capacity building programs, trainings and community workshops and address the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Africa. .
The first hubs have been announced in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria to inspire innovation and improve the business environment for small businesses.
With strategic locations across Africa, the ICC-ECA Entrepreneurship Center works with a range of stakeholders, including businesses, chambers of commerce, academic institutions, intergovernmental and governmental agencies, to connect entrepreneurs to global markets and improve the regulatory conditions for SMEs to thrive. .
From developing the skills of young people facing uncertain job prospects to mentoring start-ups and local entrepreneurs, the ICC-ECA Entrepreneurship Center is committed to preparing the next generation of African business leaders.
Strengthen ties with French-speaking Africa
The ICC and the CPCCAF (Permanent Conference of African and Francophone Consular Chambers) signed a cooperation agreement last year to promote open trade and investment and facilitate the integration of French-speaking African businesses into the economy. world. The terms of the agreement were then defined during a parallel meeting dedicated to French-speaking chambers convened during the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai.
Speaking at the 46th General Assembly of the CPCCAF last month, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of ICC for Francophone Africa, François Georges, reaffirmed ICC’s commitment to the international development of African businesses Francophones, particularly SMEs.
The World Federation of Chambers of Commerce ICC also welcomed the Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a new member last week.
Train future African leaders in international arbitration
The ICC Africa Commission has announced the 2022 cohort of ICC Hold the Door Open Fellows, made up of aspiring arbitration practitioners from 14 African countries. Comprised of nine women and 11 men, the first ICC Hold the Door Open Fellows were selected following an open application process at the end of 2021, during which the ICC Africa Commission received a total of 78 applications from 16 African jurisdictions.
The ICC Hold the Door Open initiative aims to build the capacity of young arbitration practitioners by providing them with a rare opportunity to observe arbitration hearings, whether held virtually or in person.
In 2018, the ICC established the ICC Africa Commission, with the aim of coordinating ICC outreach on the continent and increasing the number of qualified and available African arbitrators to oversee the growing number of disputes arising from the increased commercial activity in the region.