Side event at 8th Global Review of Aid for Trade: Pan African trade as an engine for local economic growth and prosperity (AfCFTA)

28 July 2022
15:15 - 16:30 hrs.

How the African Continental Free Trade Area can enhance competitiveness and trade within regional value chains

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) creates a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of 3.4 trillion US dollars. It has the potential to boost economic development and prosperity through accelerated intra-Africa trade.

The development of regional value chains with increased value addition, higher productivity, and competitiveness depends on many factors, though. These include a common public/private sector vision, harmonized trade rules, breaking down non-tariff barriers and increasing regulatory transparency, efficient business support services including quality infrastructure and conformity assessment to create trust between trading partners, a good understanding of market opportunities and facilitation of business match-making, growing infrastructure and trade logistics, and effective banking services.   

The all-female panel will bring together stakeholders from the private sector and national, regional and continental institutions. It will discuss a common vision of the AfCFTA, dig deeper into concrete trading challenges and how to address them.

The United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity is organizing this session jointly with the Arab Republic of Egypt and Madagascar in the framework of the WTO Global Aid for Trade Review 2022. For the UN Cluster, UNCTAD and UNIDO jointly led the organization.  

UNIDO supports the implementation of the AfCFTA through various projects including by supporting building quality infrastructure and trade capacity building. UNCTAD supports the AfCFTA in various areas, including supporting building the AfCFTA Non-Tariff Barriers mechanism, transparency in non-tariff measures, services trade, gender and competition policy. Other Cluster members that are active in Africa include FAO, ITC and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. The UN Cluster provides an established well-functioning umbrella to coordinate technical cooperation projects of UN agencies in Africa.


Opening remarks

  • Teresa Moreira, Officer in Charge (alternate), Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD


  • Habiba Ben Barka, Chief, Africa Section, Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, UNCTAD


  • Soha Gendi, Ambassador and Assistant Foreign Minister for African Organizations, Egypt,
  • Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, (COMESA)
  • Treasure Maphanga, COO of AE Trade Group and former Director of Trade at the African Union Commission
  • Birame Sock, Founder and CEO of Kewly , Senegal
27 Jul 2022
Arab Republic of Egypt, Madagascar, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity

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