The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will be hosting a workshop for French and Arabic-speaking journalists on Thursday, February 25, 2021 to keep them abreast with developments on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).About 40 journalists from across the continent and beyond have already indicated their interest in participating in the virtual workshop whose objective is to make journalists aware of the current status of the trade agreement and to look at how the trade bloc will affect Africa in the future.
It will also aim to further assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent and on media coverage of the AfCFTA amid the health crisis.
According to a statement by the Economic Commission for African on Wednesday, the speakers are drawn from experts in the African Union Commission (AUC), ATPC, ECA Sub-Regional Offices in North, Central and West Africa, who will give an overview of the state of play of the agreement, its impact on African regions, its implementation through National Strategies and its gender dimensions.
The AfCFTA agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019 after the treaty was ratified by 22 countries – the minimum number required by the treaty. To date, 36 countries have ratified it.
It 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 in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction.
Through the ATPC, the ECA has been working with the 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 with the financial support of the European Union to assist with the implementation of the agreement.