The AfCFTA Secretariat and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a strategic partnership to promote trade as a stimulus for Africa’s socioeconomic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, and as a driver of sustainable development - particularly for women and youth in Africa. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 common vision for the continent.
“The AfCFTA is beyond a trade liberalising instrument. It is an enabler of inclusive growth and sustainable development,” said AfCFTA Secretary General Wamkele Mene, who made the journey to New York for the historic occasion.
“We must rebalance Africa’s role in global trade. As African countries implement Covid-19 recovery plans, this collaboration with UNDP will drive momentum to ensure that women and youth are the leading beneficiaries of the AfCFTA.”
The partnership will leverage UNDP’s presence in all African countries, working in close collaboration with other UN entities, and includes direct support to the AfCFTA Secretariat through a financial grant of US$3 million. This will enhance AfCFTA Secretariat advocacy among policy makers, business, civil society, academia, youth and other stakeholders.
Trade is recognised as a means of implementation for the SDGs and Agenda 2063. The new collaboration aims to address inequalities, promote value addition and create jobs. “As Africa trades more with itself, it will be essential to target critical hurdles faced in exporting within Africa such as SME export competitiveness, rules of origin, and technical and product safety standards,” said Ambassador Fatima Mohammed Kyari, permanent observer of the African Union to the United Nations.
Since its launch, the AfCFTA has been ratified by 36 countries, and already possesses 90% of tariff offers and 34 services offers, which enable sound business and investment decisions in intra-African trade.