At 39 years of age, Julius Sello Malema (born 3 March 1981) is a South African politician who is a Member of Parliament. Having previously served as President of the African National Congress Youth League from 2008 to 2012, Malema is now the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a South African political party, which he founded in July 2013.
Unlike Julius, Wamkele Mene who is in his early 40s, was elected Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in February 2020. AfCFTA is arguably the world’s largest free trade area.
He differs from Julius in a number of ways.
Wamkele Mene holds a Bachelor of Arts (Law) degree from Rhodes University in South Africa, a Master of Arts in International Studies & Diplomacy (with specialization in International Economics) from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Banking Law & Financial Regulation from the Law Department of the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). He has also lectured internationally on international trade law, international investment law and international business law.
Let’s take a step back for a moment, the AfCFTA agreement was adopted and opened for signature on 21 March 2018 in Kigali the Rwanda capital. The AfCFTA came into force on 30 May 2019. The agreement seeks to cut tariffs within the bloc, boost trade, eliminate border barriers and create the world’s largest free trade area.
However, progress seems to have been marred and the political will of actors put to the test – just look at the jostling between Egypt and Nigeria for an African representation to the WTO.
My view is that AfCFTA seems to have contracted its own virus by allowing Covid19 stall progress. Should the 1 July 2020 implementation have been deferred to 2021? How many political campaigns carried on globally in the pandemic? Would Julius have deferred the new African reality? Your guess is as good as mine.