ECA supports Chad to flesh-out AfCFTA strategy

chad afThe UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has announced its support to Chad to flesh-out African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) strategy

A retreat to size up the stakes of the AfCFTA for the Republic of Chad and lay the foundation for the country’s strategy to leverage it ended in Mara, Chad.

At the retreat, co-organised by Chad’s National AfCFTA Negotiation Committee and ECA’s Subregional Office for Central Africa, bringing together State officials and members of the private sector, the main worries raised were Chad’s readiness to compete with Africa’s industrial giants and the fate of customs revenue for the country.

ECA’s experts – Adama Coulibaly and Simon Yannick Fouda –comforted their Chadian interlocutors, referring them to recommendations of a recent subregional stakeholder meeting in Douala, Cameroon, in which major points for a Central Africa AfCFTA strategy were mooted to cushion the effects of competition and the short-term challenges countries may face on customs revenue.

As explained by the Head of Subregional Initiatives at ECA’s Central Africa Office, Adama Coulibaly, Chad’s Industrialisation and Economic Diversification Masterplan (PDIDE) being prepared with ECA’s support, would constitute part of the answer to get the country started with AfCFTA.

The masterplan, in the offing, lays emphasis on energy supply, agribusiness (especially meat and leather products), construction works and the digital economy.

Participants called for coherence between Chad’s AfCFTA strategy and all other development strategies including PDIDE, a point which the country’s Minister of Mines, Trade and Industry Development and Private Sector Promotion Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, insisted on.

“This coordination is necessary for terms of support from technical and financial partners but also in terms of Government aligning its actions with international, regional and national development programs,” Minister Bachir said.

Participants called on the Chadian Government to use the advent of AfCFTA as an opportunity to quickly strengthen its standards, norms and measures institutions, improve on official statistics and to avail the National AfCFTA Committee with the requisite resources to enable it to prepare a solid national strategy for the common market.

They urged the National AfCFTA Negotiation Committee to draft-in experts from the customs services to earnestly finalize the list of Chadian products open for free trade.

The stakeholders requested that ECA conducts SWOT analysis on the Chadian economy, making the necessary linkages with its existing macroeconomic framework, production structure and trade flows; proposes detailed measures to mitigate the risks that would come with the continental trade agreement and indicates pathways for Chad to finance its participation in it.

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