The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could potentially improve the ease of doing business in Africa as a whole as it seeks to eliminate or reduce intra-trade barriers. This was one of the submissions at the closing ceremony of the 2020 Africa Academy of Management Conference held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Held on Saturday, January 11, the closing ceremonies began with paper sessions, professional development workshops, an all academy meeting and concluded with an exciting dinner ceremony.
Welcoming delegates and other guests to the dinner, Lagos Business School (LBS) Dean, Professor Enase Okonedo said, “At the beginning of the AFAM Conference, I could read anticipation, expectation and trepidation on the faces of delegates and participants, but from my interactions with several people this evening, I understand that a lot of expectations have been surpassed and this gives me great pleasure”.
Professor Okonedo went on to admonish the researchers and scholars to ensure that the outcome of research efforts that have been established at the Conference is felt across Africa. She said, “For all of us who have been part of the Conference, it is in our collective interest and that of the world to bring about the transformation of Africa that we so desire. If countries in Africa fail, the world fails, so we need to act”.
Furthering the conversation on transforming the continent, Keynote Speaker, Chairman, KPMG Africa, Kunle Elebute spoke on the AfCFTA and its potential impact on sustainable development in Africa.
Elebute said the AfCFTA will present a real opportunity for knowledge sharing and technology transfer among countries in Africa, will improve collaboration, will allow investors to commit to more long term funds and will generally improve business (including manufacturing) in the region.
According to Elebute, “The AfCTA will benefit the countries that are ‘prepared’ for the opportunities it provides, although there are yet a number of questions that need to be answered before full implementation can happen. However, African countries will need to, among other things, invest in agile and responsive institutional capacities to stay ahead of disruptive changes attendant with the potential impacts of regional integration.”
Best Paper Awards were presented to researchers who submitted exceptional academic papers in each of the named tracks that were explored at the Conference. LBS Faculty, Dr Okechukwu Amah, who specialises in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management, won the Best Paper Award in his track.
Thanking all delegates, guests and partners, Chairman of the local organising committee and LBS Management Board member, Professor Chris Ogbechie reiterated the School’s commitment to advancing the practice of management in Africa and continued openness to host gatherings such as AFAM.
The event closed with a lively dance session and more networking among delegates.