Experts from the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA), African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) are meeting in Libreville, Gabon today to review the guidelines for preparing national AfCFTA implementation strategies. Experts will review current production and trade within a national and regional context; the identification and prioritization of opportunities for value chain development; a thorough analysis of constraints, including non-tariffs barriers and competitiveness issues faced by businesses and means to address them; strategic actions to boost identified priority sectors; a monitoring and evaluation framework; and financial resources mobilization plans. Taking also the macroeconomic context into account, all these factors will feed into producing guidelines to support 30 countries with the development of their national AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Agreement) implementation strategies.
ATPC acknowledges that the AfCFTA could bring about some short-term adjustment costs such as lower tariffs revenues. Furthermore, a range of cross cutting and very critical issues need to be integrated into the national plans, including gender mainstreaming, the environment, climate change, and new technologies. David Luke, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said that “country strategies will not be developed from scratch. African countries have in place a number of well-grounded knowledge products and frameworks, national development plans, trade, industrialization and export policies that will inform the AfCFTA strategies.”
With 19 countries now having already ratified the Agreement, the target number for implementation (i.e. 22 ratifications) is expected to be reached in just a few weeks.
The national implementation strategies, which will have regard for countries priority interests within the continental and global development agenda, are part of a wider project aiming at Deepening Africa’s Trade integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA. Financially supported by the European Union, ECA has been working with its partners including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts to identify the key elements to be considered in the AfCFTA implementation strategies, the support will initially be rolled out in 30countries.
About the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC). The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) strengthens the human and institutional capacities of African Governments to formulate and implement sound trade policies and participate more effectively in trade negotiations at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. ATPC works with a range of other relevant stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society, and academia in research, training, information dissemination and advisory services to build consensus and achieve inclusive outcomes. The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) is based within the ECA Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
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