Africa trade week to kickoff next week

IN A bid to provide a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive platform for policy dialogue between various trade constituencies, the African Union, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, is to hold Africa Trade Week 2016 (ATW 2016) in Addis Ababa next week from November 28th -December 2nd, 2016.

Organised under the theme “Advancing Socio-Economic Structural Transformation through Intra-Africa Trade”, this year’s ATW is expected to focus on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), with emphasis on trade facilitation, implementation, as well as building productive capabilities for industrialisation.

“The Africa Trade Week will enable a high-level exchange of views between African countries, Regional Economic Communities and their international partners on how African countries can foster economic integration that nurtures social and economic structural transformation as mandated by Africa’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063,” David Luke, co-ordinator of ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre said.

ATW2016 will be attended by representatives from key trade constituencies in Africa and from around the world. These will include policymakers, high-level government officials, private sector operators, civil society, parliamentarians, development partners, academics and researchers, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), corridor management institutions and the media.

It will also provide a platform for RECs, Member States and other stakeholders to exchange views on how to prioritise the CFTA as part of a coherent and consistent package that encompasses the multilateral and bilateral trade agenda, as well as share experience for cross-fertilisation on the on-going CFTA negotiations and its effective implementation, a statement from ECA read.

Organised by the AU’s Trade and Industry departments in collaboration with the ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, the ATW2016’s main objective is to provide a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive platform for policy dialogue between various trade constituencies, the statement added.

The Agenda 2063 10-year Implementation Plan, amongst other important priorities for the continent, includes several flagship projects. The CFTA is one of these projects as defined in AU Assembly Decision 394 of January 2012, on Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) and fast-tracking the establishment of the CFTA.

Through the CFTA, intra-African trade is expected to double between 2012 and 2022, and intra-African agricultural trade to triple by 2025. – ANA