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First AU SME Annual Forum on Africa’s Industrialisation and the AfCFTA

On ‘Commemoration of the International Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day’ (27 June), the first African Union Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Annual Forum opened in Cairo, with the theme “Economic Empowerment of SMEs, Women and Youth Entrepreneurs to Realize Africa’s Industrialization in the Context of the Integrated Market”. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the African economy, representing more than 90% of businesses and employing about 60% of workers, many of whom are women and youth. Despite the significant role which SMEs play in the development of African economies, they have yet to be fully integrated into the regional value chains system and in turn the continental trading system.

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