#ECA and Stakeholders in East African Community (EAC) meet tomorrow to Review #AfCFTA Strategy
Addis Ababa, 15 March 2021, ECA – The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), a unit of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), together with stakeholders in the East African Community (EAC) are meeting tomorrow to review the Community’s draft implementation strategy for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The virtual meeting will among other things review the ratification and compliance of the strategy with existing agreements, the Community’ response to the COVID—19 pandemic and the development of an implementation work plan.
The ATPC is supporting 41 African countries and regional economic communities (RECS) in the development of the AfCFTA strategies across Africa. This includes the EAC, to which it is providing strategic and policy recommendations on how best to improve the implementation of the AfCFTA within the EAC, with a view to promoting trade performance, competitiveness, digitalization and investments.
Widely described as a game changer, the AfCFTA provides an opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product of more than $2.5 trillion that is expected to usher in a new era of development. Trading under the pact commenced on 1 January this year after a postponement for six months as a result of the pandemic.
It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction. It will also constitute a significant milestone towards the realization of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for the socio-economic transformation of the continent.
The ECA, through the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states of the AU to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development. The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and independent trade experts to assist with the implementation of the agreement.