Home AfCFTA UN economic commission joins drive to support AfCFTA

UN economic commission joins drive to support AfCFTA


The AfCFTA Caravan Prize is a component of the wider Initiative, and targets a select few of the supported enterprises with more intensive support and some cash grants

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has partnered with two other entities to help implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The project which was launched last week is expected to enhance the implementation of more than 30 activities in the AfCFTA strategies of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia.

It is working with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

Speaking during the launch, Mikael Anzén, permanent representative of Sweden to the WTO and chair of the EIF Steering Committee said beneficiary countries will have their capacity enhanced towards tangible outcomes, such as jobs and other economic opportunities by the end of the project.

“This project represents the EIF’s importance to continue foster regional programming as well as deepening relationship with partners for their economic recovery,” Anzén said.

Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA  said the joint project can potentially push regional trade levels up from 18 per cent to 25 per cent within a decade.

“With proper implementation, this could also lead to a $10 billion decrease in imports from outside the continent, while boosting agriculture and industrial exports by up to $45 billion (7%) and $ 21 billion (5%) per year,”Songwe said.

The AfCFTA seeks to bring about the establishment of a common framework and sets of standards across the African continent to ensure trade cooperation, harmonization, and efficiency.

It entered into force on May 30, 2019 for the 24 countries that deposited their instruments of ratification by this date. The operational phase was launched on July 7, 2019.

The AfCFTA is expected to spur intra-African trade and to have positive spillover effects on trade among African least-developed countries.

It is also expected to pave way for increased inter-African trade through access to the intercontinental market. 

Kenya and Ghana were the first nations to ratify the agreement, depositing their ratification in 2018.

Kenya’s start of trading under the AfCFTA agreement kicked off on January 1, 2021.

The country started developing its national strategy in 2019 with input from stakeholders in the private and public sectors.

Kenya is keen to expand its supply capacity and increase its exports across Africa and globally.

This is in line with its economic transformation policy to expand export capacity, increase jobs and wealth creation opportunities for citizens and promote shared prosperity.