H.E. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union, opened the Boma of Africa event on July 8, 2022, to round off the events commemorating this year’s Africa Integration Day. This year’s Boma subject was aptly “Taking Stock of the African Century,” reflecting the growing interest in the conviction that Africa’s development in the twenty-first century, as foreseen by Agenda 2063, will be internationally significant. The African Union and AfroChampions collaborated to organize the 2022 Boma.
The Boma was divided into three sections to reflect the balance of deliberation and action. Two portions focused on the launch of key practical projects fostering integration on the continent: a Common Vaccine Passport embedded in the continental eHealth Backbone and a platform for the AfCFTA Digital Trading Corridor.
The third component of the program was in the form of a symposium convened at the Heads of State and Chief Executive level to examine the key collective strategies that African leaders can use to manage recovery from the twin crisis of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, entrench resilience against future global shocks, and accelerate the rise of the continent as captured by Agenda 2063.
Pledges of support and cooperation to Africa CDC and AfroChampions in relation to the Trusted Vaccines and PanaBIOS eHealth platform came from the governments of India, Singapore, United Kingdom, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and Australia. As well as the World Health Organisation, European Union and ICAO. Supporters of the initiative include the Africa Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), African Organisation of Standardisation (ARSO), Koldchain, Africa Tourism Board, Esri; and regional health authorities such as the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) and the East, Central & Southern Africa Health Agency (ECSA)
The results of a consultative process ahead of the launch of the AfCFTA Hub digital trading ecosystem platform by the AfCFTA Secretariat were presented in the forms of video showing strong support from major logistics companies such as RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Asky. Continental retail and distribution companies like MaxMart, Melcom, Walmart Africa, and Naivas were also successfully engaged. On the digital, financial services, and fintech fronts, companies that participated in the launch of the AfCFTA Hub included M-Pesa, PAPSS, Vodacom, Orange, Webb Fontaine, and Scanning Systems, and Standard Bank. Input into the development finance prospects came from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Symposium brought together African Union Heads of State and Government H.E. Hakainde Hichelema of Zambia, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa to engage with global and continental business leaders and Heads of International Organisations.
Following the successful launch of the two digital platforms and extensive deliberations on new and innovative ways to galvanize collective action at a continental level for smooth attainment of the Agenda 2063 goals, the Boma was successfully closed by H.E. Cessouma Minata Samate, African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development.
This year, the African Union launched two main flagship initiatives at the Boma: the African Vaccine Passport and eHealth backbone and a digital platform for accelerating the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The African Vaccine Passport allows every African Union citizen to acquire free digital proof of their vaccinations that can be verified around the world utilizing the PanaBIOS and UNDP-backed Global Haven mechanisms.
The digital platform, called the AfCFTA Hub, interconnects national, regional, and private digital applications together to boost the ability of SMEs to expand their business and/or export their products across Africa through improved logistics, and networking of retail outlets, integration of fintech and brand development support. Financing is provided through the affiliated AfCFTA Caravan Initiative. Every SME or startup in the African Union is now entitled to a free AfCFTA Number following the launch.
There is a supply chain component called, ProPer, for managing the potential negative side effects of the AfCFTA trade liberalization scheme such as dumping, smuggling, and counterfeiting.