Lethabo Sithole is a legal practitioner and consultant in international business, trade and investment law with a combination of private, public and policy experience. She holds a Master of Laws in International Business Law from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Inspired by her dedication to building circular, resilient and sustainable societies on the continent, she founded and partnered in ventures to develop and support new and emerging markets and industries. Lethabo is the co-founder of Amila Africa - a boutique firm that seeks to innovate investment and trade market-making on the continent. She is also a partner and the chief of strategy at IFFAC (the Impact Fund for African Creatives) - a fund that seeks to address the lack of capital, management skills and infrastructure required to leverage the untapped talent of Africa’s creative industry by investing in these companies.
As a young African, Lethabo has championed inclusive development, SME development and meaningful youth engagement in policy formulation and implementation. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the AfCFTA Youth Forum’s Advisory Board - an independent youth-led youth-focused organization.
The conversation on intra-Africa trade has been dominated by the recently implemented game-changing African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and its potential to position the region as the fastest growing in the world. This discussion will broaden the conversation and unpack the AfCFTA for what it is – a legal instrument to enhance intra-Africa trade – and what we can realistically expect from the agreement, in the context of existing regional economic networks and other trade instruments already in effect. The discussion will seek to address questions such as how Africa can unlock potential by building more viable regional value chains, how countries can overcome infrastructural differences impeding trade, and how payment innovation must align to facilitate cross-border exchange. Underpinning these reforms is the critical role of financing to not only bridge the infrastructure and investment gaps, but also offset the revenues generated by existing trade barriers. Lastly, the role of the private sector cannot be understated. The discussion will highlight the dual role the private sector has to play, both as traders and agents of innovation.