Implementing the AfCFTA - The Need for Deepening Private Sector Engagement and Commitment

12 February 2021
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African Development Bank (Abidjan)

What: Joint webinar on the implementation of the AfCFTA within the WTO Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event 2021

Who: African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Trade Centre (ITC)

When: Wednesday 24 March 2021, 11.00-12.30 AM (GMT+1 Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna)

10.00-11.30 AM (GMT)

Where: Virtual

Registration link

The African Development Bank, the UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Trade Centre are hosting a webinar with the theme "Implementing the AfCFTA: the Need for Deepening Private Sector Engagement and Commitment" on the sidelines of the 2021 WTO Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event.

At the beginning of this year, African countries officially began trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Economists say the trade zone could lift tens of millions out of poverty over the next 15 years.

The AfDB, UNIDO and the ITC have each engaged with the private sector at the continental, regional and sub-national level to facilitate the African business community's access to the new single market.

The panelists will reflect on: measures to promote the benefits of the AfCFTA among the private sector; suitable trade policies and regulations to make the AfCFTA work for the African business community; and steps to increase intra-African trade. They will also explore ways to boost the participation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women and young entrepreneurs in the new single market to facilitate growth and enhance job creation.

Participants will include high-level representatives from the African Business sector and the International Organizations involved. A full list of speakers will be advertised in due course.

Interpretation services will be available in English and French.

Participants and journalists are invited to register here.

Visit the WTO Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking event page here.

Event Short Description


Since 1 January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is operational, creating a new trade dynamic on the continent. Africa is now a single market of 1.3 billion consumers. Full implementation of the AfCFTA will contribute to building Africa's structural transformation and will reshape markets and economies across the region. However, no matter how well grounded the AfCFTA objectives are, they will remain elusive if business in Africa is unable to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA, in terms of trade and investment. It is therefore critical that the private sector is effectively engaged in the implementation process, with the active support of governments, the African Union (AU) and development partners. So far, indications are that the private sector has not been adequately engaged. The process going forward must be more inclusive. Given this imperative and with a view to stimulate debate and further propel action on the ground, the session will discuss the main impediments that are affecting the low participation of the private sector in the AfCFTA and showcase good practices in trade policy making and in building productive capacities. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa's productive sector and efforts towards recovery and building back better will form the overall backdrop to the discussions.

Coming soon

Media contact:

Solange Kamuanga-Tossou

Chiara Valpiana

Sybille Neuhaus

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