Regional office for Africa

Support AfCFTA negotiations

The Regional Office for Africa continued to focus on facilitating and coordinating UNCTAD’s technical assistance for the benefit of key stakeholders and partners on the continent, including the African Union Commission,  and its secretaria of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, regional economic communities, among others. The ROA represented UNCTAD at various AfCFTA meetings and consultations.

In October 2021, Regional Office co-organized a capacity-building session on competition policy, aimed at strengthening the understanding of competition policy and facilitating the negotiations on the AfCFTA competition policy protocol. 34 AfCFTA State parties and member States were in attendance.

The session was jointly held with the AfCFTA Secretariat, the UN economic commission for Africa (UNECA) and UNCTAD’s commodities and consumer policies branch.

It covered a range of issues concerning the development of the AfCFTA competition policy protocol.

Key topics included the current landscape of competition policy and regulations frameworks in Africa; the fundamentals and scope of competition policy applications and exemptions within the AfCFTA; the tenets of AfCFTA competition policy protocol; competition policy enforcement mechanism; linkages between competition and investment, gender and other emerging issues  such as e-commerce and digital trade.


Regional office for Africa

Paul Akiwumi speaking with H.E Melaku Alebel, Minister of Industry of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, (on the extreme right) about UNCTAD's project on productive capacities.

Support AfCFTA implementation

Regional office for Africa

UNCTAD pays a courtesy visit to H.E Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union

ROA supported selected countries in the UNECA-led process of developing AfCFTA national implementation strategies.  For Namibia, ROA participated in the country’s technical review of the AfCFTA implementation.  For Botswana, ROA took part in the inception meeting to help develop its national implementation strategy. ROA will further support the technical review and provide data and research inputs for the strategy.

The AfCFTA national strategies will enable countries to maximize their benefits by harnessing the free trade agreement.

Assess regional integration in Africa

ROA participated in the launch of the 10th edition of the report, titled “Assessing Regional Integration in Africa”, drafted collaboratively with UNECA, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank. The report examines Africa’s services trade liberalization and integration under the AfCFTA.

Tackle non-tariff barriers

ROA continued to support the online tool which aims to make trade more efficient by enabling the identification, reporting, monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

In 2021, ROA organized validation worshops on non-tariff measures (NTMs) regulations collected from African countries, including Eswatini, Namibia, Rwanda and the Comoros.

In total, more than 600 regulations were collected for their respective NTMs to be validated, which helps to increase transparency and reduce costs of NTMs.

The AfCFTA secretariat also received support on NTBs-related issues through an UNCTAD-funded expert who provided technical assistance.