Geneva — Moderating a roundtable on the theme, "Aid for Trade, value chains and intra-African Trade" at the ongoing Global Review of Aid for Trade, Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) today stressed the need for closer policy coordination and greater use of monitoring and evaluation systems to enhance the contribution of Aid for Trade to regional integration.
Citing key findings by the ECA as published in a report titled: "Building Trade Capacities for Africa's Transformation", Mr. Lopes said there is scope for more effective support to the development of Africa's productive capacities, and help firms connect to global value chains.
The session discussed the African Union's Action Plan to Boost intra-African Trade, and drew lessons from ongoing efforts in the Tripartite Free Trade Area, focusing mainly on the fundamental role of political will for the advancement of the regional integration agenda; as well as the challenge of overlapping membership to regional agreements.
Discussions touched on the strategies adopted to redress Africa's long-standing infrastructural problems, and the mechanisms needed to ensure a greater participation of private actors in the underlying investments. Particular reference was made to the contribution trade facilitation could bring towards boosting intra-African trade, and the importance of maintaining political momentum; and the need to focus on the implementation of continentally-agreed frameworks.
Private sector representatives, policy-makers and donors, participated in the discussions, offering insights on concrete measures to boost the competitiveness of African firms, and on the factor of success in boosting value addition and promoting economic diversification.
Panelist included: Fatima Haram Acyl, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry; Siep Hiemstra, President Africa and Middle East, Heineken; Hakim Ben Hamouda from the African Development Bank; Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer at Trade Mark East Africa; Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Commerce, Cameroon; and Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission.