ITC publication provides guidance for African businesses on how to best take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) today released a business guide that will help the private sector and policymakers better understand and navigate the recent African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
‘A Business Guide to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement’ – which was formally presented to the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga during the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) taking place in Lusaka, Zambia – captures the current state of play of the provisions and protocols of the agreement. The guide provides insights into the business implications of AfCFTA with a view to equip stakeholders to both anticipate and influence policies.
Aimed in particular to benefit Africa’s business community, the guide supports private-sector stakeholders, including trade and investment support institutions, to effectively engage in advocacy and public-private dialogue mechanisms, and play a key role in negotiating and implementing reforms resulting from the agreement. The elements included in the guide will also be important in helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa map how they can utilise the AfCFTA to increase their regional competitiveness.
Enhanced knowledge of expanding markets and free movement of people provides African business with a unique opportunity to be the first movers in adjusting their business practices and exploring regional opportunities. The guide points out that the AfCFTA already has cooperation mechanisms in place, such as in addressing non-tariff barriers and in resolving disputes, that African businesses can benefit from as they seek to deepen their regional integration.
ITC Executive Arancha González reiterated the importance of the AfCFTA to all stakeholders. ‘The AfCFTA is a historical agreement that will be crucial in addressing competitiveness issues in Africa,’ she said. ‘At a time when some around the world are turning away from increased integration it is important that Africa sees closer regional cooperation as important in creating jobs, supporting greater value addition and reducing poverty.’
She added that ‘this guide will prove invaluable for enterprises, entrepreneurs and policy makers who want to deepen their understanding of the AfCFTA and stay ahead of the curve’.
Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said: 'The Business Guide to the AfCFTA will help ensure that the private sector – especially our MSMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs – take full advantage of the agreement. It breaks down the complexities of the AfCFTA into ideas and concepts that businesses will understand. It is timely, and of great value.'
‘A Business Guide to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement’ will also enable policymakers involved in negotiating and implementing the AfCFTA to be more aware of the needs of the private sector and include them in provisions related to trade in goods and services and free movement of people. It also explores forthcoming areas of the agreement such as intellectual property rights, investments and competition policy.