ECA and Its Partners' Report At Com2019 On the Next Steps for the African Continental Free Trade Area

6 March 2019

Addis Ababa — The African Union Commission, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will present recommendations that emanate from one of its annual flagship reports on "Assessing regional integration in Africa: next steps for the African Continental Free Trade Area" at the 52nd session of conference of Ministers.

The briefing is schedules for March 23rd 2019 in Oliveraie room of Palmeraie hotel, Marrakech, Morocco.

The objectives of this event are to indicate progress made by the partners towards finalizing the African Regional Integration Index report (2019) by presenting some preliminary results and the policy recommendations that emanate from them, and to provide key messages resulting from the African regional integration research and engage member States into considering how best to approach the AfCFTA Phase II negotiations.

The meeting will bring together officials of Ministries of trade, finance, industry, economic development and planning. It will also try to reach development partners and regional and international organizations.

Reports show that African leaders have intensified their efforts to promote regional integration, as evidenced by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in March 2018. The work of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and its partners continues to contribute to these ambitions with policy-oriented technical research.

This progress was a follow-up to the sixth joint annual meeting of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development held in 2013 that mandated ECA, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to develop the Africa Regional Integration Index for 2019.

According to experts, African countries, Heads of State and Government of the African Union agreed that the AfCFTA agreement should address "behind the border" trade issues. The AfCFTA Phase II negotiations is structured around three topics: competition policy; intellectual property rights; and investment. To this end, the focus of the ninth edition of the African Regional Integration Index report is on the options through which African countries may achieve the most out of the AfCFTA Phase II.

The convening partners expect that the meeting will serve to inform participants on regional integration dynamics in Africa and specific policy recommendations on how to support the regional integration process. The report will further enable African countries to track their progress within their respective regional economic communities and within the continent.

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