Experts review guidelines for national AfCFTA implementation plans

trade afExperts from the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA), African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) met in Libreville, Gabon 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 African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) 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, “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, industrialisation and export policies that will inform the AfCFTA strategies."

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 (EU), 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 30 countries.

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