Using the creatives to boost intra-African trade.

Date30 September 2023

Free movement of people and goods is one of the anticipated benefits of AfCFTA.

So far, Mr. Maina has realized how little young people know about the AfCFTA, which came into effect in May 2019. He also discovered that countries have varying laws and regulations, some quite prohibitive.

Still, the situation is not as bad as people think, said Mr. Maina. He is director of Youth Motion Kenya, an organization he founded during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. On his new organization's platform, he engages with other young people online on the AfCFTA.

Under Youth Motion's auspices, Mr. Maina launched the AfCFTA Kazini Caravan (Swahili for 'AfCFTA at work'), a mobile advocacy initiative to raise awareness of the AfCFTA among Kenyan and other African youths.

Creating art across borders

The Kazini Caravan travels across borders overland to prove that young people can move across Africa and embrace opportunities elsewhere, he said.

Using flash mobs, the caravan visits art and cultural centers as well as universities, engaging audiences with performance and fine art, music, poetry, theatre and drama, rap music, and spoken word to spread AfCFTA messages.

The maiden caravan in November 2021 traveled from Nairobi to Durban - in time for the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) - through Dodoma, Lusaka and Gaborone, covering five countries and 9,300 km.

The IATF, a trade show designed as a platform for sharing information on trade, investing and market opportunities, brings together buyers and sellers, investors and government officials to make business deals.

The second edition of the caravan will span 20 countries across five of six African regions. It will end in Cairo, Egypt, during the IATF. As of early September, the caravan had passed through Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Kigali in Rwanda, and Kampala in Uganda.

Taking artistic routes to success

'The conversation about the AfCFTA has not been led by young people, but by institutions such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the AfCFTA Secretariat, which is great,' said Mr. Maina. 'But, how about having young people lead that discussion for other young people and urge them to take up action in unique ways such as the Kazini Caravan?'

The caravan's travels, he maintained...

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