Speech Founding President of the African Chamber of Trade & Commerce (ACC), Mary Concilia ANCHANG.
1st ACC Economic Day, 20th November 2017, Yaounde Hilton Hotel
The Representative of the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development;
The Minister of Commerce;
The Deputy Executive Secretary of UN-ECA;
Honorable senators and parliamentarians;
Your Excellencies Heads and members of Diplomatic Missions;
Ladies and gentlemen in your various rangs and capacities.
Good morning and welcome to all for the official launching of the 1st edition of,“ The African Chamber of Trade and Commerce Economic day”, Here after referred to as ACC.
Before we begin, I will like to first acknowledge and thank, on behalf of the African Chamber of Trade & Commerce team, the various protocols personalities for honoring our invitation. We thank the Ministers and official sponsors especially the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development for accepting to patronize this event. We also thank the Minister of Commerce for accepting to support and partner with us to make this event happen. We further thank UNECA for not only honoring our invitation and sponsoring same, but also for offering the utmost gift of delivering the keynote speech by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Mme Govanni Biha. It is quite an honor and privilege for the African Chamber of Trade & Commerce to have you here today. We bid you to please relay our utmost gratitude to the Executive Secretary General, Mrs. Vera Songwe, whom we congratulate for her brilliant promotion to head The Economic Commission for Africa. We thank our members and partners as well as the registered participants, here in various capacities. Without all of your participation there will be no event. We most of all thank the participants, speakers and moderators who travelled long distances to be here today and support the ACC. We are truly grateful.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Permit me to present to you the core reason of our presence here today through the presentation of the African Chamber of Trade & Commerce from its creation through to its vision and objectives.
The creation of the ACC stems from an encounter with Mme Dlamini Zuma, then Head of the African Union Commission, during the first ever Africa/US Heads of State Summit. Following our exchange on Africa’s Economic development and market emergence, it was affirmed that we, as Africans, must channel our efforts to identifying ourselves and become proud owners of our own possessions. This came with a challenge for me as an African lawyer to become an economic actor and advocate for a defined agenda of Africa’s Economic priorities. The urge to craft a synergy to generate inclusive debates that would define Africa’s economic vision with reachable goals to guarantee sustainable private sector reflections and concrete solutions to address the active and traceable growth of Africa’s economy became my new client. The work to define ourselves through concerted platforms to find harmonious solutions to Africa’s economic Development became real. Again, a common vision to propel industrial production to promote trade and Commerce became unequivocal. A retrospective view of our colonial heritage led us to observe that, national chambers of Commerce came with attributions predefined by the governing institutions.
At independence African nations continued to animate the chambers as handed down with little or no latitude to redefine the structures, but none was created with the global vision to channel Africa’s trade and industry with a common agenda of priorities to build adapted infrastructures to guarantee Africa’s economic development and market emergence.
Having observed the absence of an aggressive and unified African trade vision, converging towards a common agenda within African Nations, to network and birth competitive emerging markets for Africa’s industrialization and renaissance provoked the creation of “The African Chamber of Trade & Commerce” (ACC) on November 2nd 2015 to federate African businesses. ” TOGETHER TO BUILD AFRICA” becomes a key vector for Africa’s emergence.
The ACC is an innovative private sector business vector, working through a Federated Network of Chamber activity, wherein; stakeholders, businesses and institutions trading and investing across Africa are able to make conscious business decisions based on where, how, and when to undertake competitive business ventures and opportunities around the world, while relying on unequivocal verifiable information.
It offers an innovative business and federated approach in doing chamber work, throughout the continent for its members and partners viewed from the private sector perspective.
Through a Federation of African Chamber business networks aimed at integrating modern communication and finance tools for Africa’s economic emergence, ACC provides adapted solutions to address simple and/or complex investment projects and opportunities to guarantee optimal results for businesses and institutions. We look to explore existing data compiled by existing institutions like UNECA, FIDA, UNIDO and other related institutions to harness and solidify our vision to birth optimal results for our members and partners going forward.
Again, the Chamber offers unmatched legal, business and technical expertise in all sectors with emphasis in Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Agriculture, Tourism, Culture, commerce, Trade, Intellectual property, Law, IT Solutions, Digital and transformation industries.
We understand that many international businesses are looking to relocate or transfer production plants in Africa. ACC aims at ensuring that compliance procedures and due diligent measures are taken to guarantee fair performance, while taking advantage of the binding international treaties through negotiated and constructive partnerships, to provide a conducive business friendly environment for investment. This will go in line with our objective to create investment opportunities and create jobs for the youth to boost the economy.
It is therefore incumbent on Africans to realize the obligation to structure their businesses to match the aggressive competition that will befall them from foreign owned business that will be taking comparative advantage of these platforms. ACC provides reliable information statics’ on local business to make industrial such partnerships at country level.
ACC targets to create an Africa SME connect platform where, the concerns of SMEs will be addressed based on a common revolutionary agenda to allow mutual and /or reciprocal trust between SMEs and stake holding institutions (government, bankers, insurers, funders etc. This effort should enable key players and stakeholders craft solution oriented decisions, based on a concrete action plan to build and facilitate the growth of dynamic, competitive and sustainable African businesses.
OUR STRATEGY (How do we operate?)
The African Chamber of Trade & Commerce (ACC) therefore, partners with governments, businesses and organizations willing to finance trading opportunities for SMEs to grow the production capacities of businesses across borders. Working with accredited institutions, we recommend and urge the strict application of national laws, procedural rules and recognized legal practices together with international binding instruments to seek enforcement as guided by renowned experts, working through ACC commissions to guarantee success in different areas of activity. We also work with a wide network of USAWALEX African specialized lawyers to guarantee success in different areas of business and humaine initiatives.
ACC is convinced that the Bottom to Top all inclusive business model to involve communities, Councils, Co-operatives, GICs, Enterprises and individual in a collective effort, with all part and parcel of the value chain sharing the same ambition to grow their businesses and communities. ACC advocates that, sustained economic development can only come through the participative involvement of all persons for profitable businesses to occur. This should enhance the sustainable performance of African businesses towards increased goods and services to guarantee a competitive African market.
The Chamber relies on Financial institutions, Micro Finance structures and Investment Bankers for potential and mutual lucrative partnerships. We look to facilitate importation and exporting with more emphasis in local industry input to promote exportation.
We promote novel adapted solutions to solve technical problems for improved quality and quantities in the production and service capacities in industry to attract competitive market standards and promote foreign/international trade.
ACC currently has an ongoing partnership with the Cameroon National Agency for Small and Medium Size Enterprises. They both work to sensitize, train and assist agro pastoral farmers in the area of animal grazing/ breeding, poultry farming, crop farming, slaughter and preservation of animal produce for improved quality and quantity in farming for optimal industrial production in agri-business.
ACC also works in close collaboration with the Cameroon government to carry out projects in partnership for the benefit of her members. Some of the governmental departments include: The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Ministry of Small and Medium Size Industries, Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, Ministry of Promotion for Women and family, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Social Welfare.
ACC has entered foreign partnerships with many organizations abroad. ACC is open and disposed to work with all persons of goodwill haunted with the obsession to continue building Africa.
ACC also looks to address the critical issue of access to arable farmland in Africa. Food security cannot be addressed if we cannot guarantee the optimal use of huge unexplored acres of Arable farmland idling, while African are dying of hunger in most parts of the continent. This obliges governments to setup enforceable polices on access to land through, grants and/or conventions to business with the adequate resources to explore same in a competitive manner without neglecting the local content factor to address the concerns of the rural population and bring sustained development to them.
ACC looks to create wealth with friends of Africa in a war free and safe African Continent. ACC OBLIGES her efforts to achieve this TARGET.
TODAY, the 1st Edition of the ACC Economic Day seeks to tackle the theme “Quality performance, production and competitiveness of local products and services in the agro-industry and related manufacturing industries”.
This theme stands as the fruit of a long reflection on the Agro- business sector in Africa and in Cameroon in particular. The Agro- business industry cannot be sustainable if Africans do not create knowledge and experience based sharing platforms. Testimonies with success stories and inherent challenges need to be told to enable businesses and persons make informed decisions, as naivety and ignorance can no longer excuse failure in the 21st century.
The abundance of knowledge and teaching tools oblige that a skillful blend of opportunities be used to obtain palpable and sustainable results for Africa’s economic emergence. The “ACC Economic Day” is a unique model to illustrate how the Bottom to Top inclusive approach works to build reliable value chains by agri-preuneurs, to respond to the UN SDGs in developing and emerging markets, for Africa’s economic prosperity. This is the opportunity to express the ACC’s extreme gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with UNECA for this 1st Edition of the ACC Economic day. We look forward to a lasting relationship going forward? to build Africa.
The key to competition resides in the improved recognition and performance of Small and Medium Enterprises in every economy, including Africa. As signatories to the AGOA, APE, Madrid Protocol and the Paris Declaration, binding to Cameroon and other African nations, Africans should be sweating and on their toes to embrace competition in the world market. We need to guarantee production in quantity, quality and be competitive in the world market.
Therefore, the 1st Edition of “The ACC ECONOMIC DAY” coincides with the launching of the ACC “Events MAGAZINE”. This illustrates our ambition to document our efforts, as we progress with chamber work.
With that said, we reiterate that ACC decrees that, transforming Africa’s potential resources, for AFRICA’s prosperity, is not an option. It is a MUST! We can be here for hours and I will never stop telling you what ACC intends for AFRICA. Our ambitions are huge, unqualified and several. But to achieve, we need you. That is why we hope that all of us present today will become active members and sympathizers of ACC so that, we can TOGETHER BUILD AFRICA into a continent rich in infrastructures, quality, performance and competitive production. I apologize for the long speech. We have been waiting for this opportunity to share our projects and ambitions with an audience of your caliber for several years. We thank God almighty for this day. To those who have come from overseas and the regions outside Yaoundé, we are most grateful for your time.
I won’t want to finish without addressing a very special thank you to the Secretary General of ACC Mr. Linus Fru for sticking with me through thick and thin for all these years and being relentless in the process. I also thank all the vibrant ACC team for the great team effort that has brought us this far. Special thanks go to the coordinator of the ACC Finance and Investment commission for his brilliant and determined efforts to make this day a success.
Please permit me say a special thank you to the Onambele-Anchang & Associates Law firm headed by, Barrister Joseph Antoine Onambele for his eternal support for ACC. The sacrifices he makes to provide guidance and support in ACC’s vision has never wavered. He is our inspiration. Under his patronage, the firm has been the foundation on which ACC has been built and to the team of the firm we are very grateful.
To my Family starting, with my loving husband for supporting and trusting me all the way as I wake up most nights writing and tearing pieces of papers, all efforts to put together my thoughts. To my amazing children for sacrificing all the time that, I have taken away from them, to my siblings who have individually supported me in this project in their various capacities. Also to my amazing mother who always supports anything I do with prayers and always believes in me, even when I can no longer hold up.
Finally I thank everyone in this room our guests and all participants including the Media for your special role coming to witness and spread this phenomenal concept and vision to all and believing in it.
Finally, finally, we wish all participants at this event a successful and fruitful networking day. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and share your views. Today we meet to celebrate knowledge sharing. Please stop at nothing to benefit the most from this event.
Long live ACC.
Long live the ACC/UNECA Partnership.
Long Live Cameroon.