By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union will at the end of this month host the 2016 Africa Trade Week with a special focus on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
Organised by the AU’s Trade and Industry departments in collaboration with the ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, the ATW2016 will put special emphasis on trade facilitation, implementation as well as building productive capacities for industrialization on the continent.
The main objective of ATW2016 is to provide a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive platform for policy dialogue between various trade constituencies.
The theme of the AFW2016, which will run from November 20 to December 2, is “Advancing Socio-Economic Structural Transformation through Intra-Africa Trade”.
ATW2016 will have three main segments; the Africa Trade Forum (ATF), which runs from November 28 to 30, focusing on the CFTA and its implementation as the main theme.
The second segment will bring together African Ministers of Trade from November 29 to 30 and the third one, the 2nd African Trade Facilitation Forum (ATTF) from December 1 to 2, will consist of a high-level policy dialogue on the implementation of the trade facilitation cluster of the Boost Intra-African Trade (BIAT), including the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
“The Africa Trade Week will enable a high-level exchange of views between African countries, Regional Economic Communities and their international partners on how African countries can foster economic integration that nurtures Social and Economic Structural Transformation as mandated by Africa 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063,” said David Luke, Coordinator of ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre.
It will also provide a platform for RECs, Member States and other Stakeholders to exchange views on how to prioritize the CFTA as part of a coherent and consistent package that encompasses the multilateral and bilateral trade agenda as well as share experience for cross-fertilization on the on-going CFTA negotiations and its effective implementation.
There will also be opportunity for peer-to-peer learning among the private sector, based on best practices for private sector-led initiatives in support of Africa’s structural transformation.
Among others, policymakers, high-Level government officials, representatives from key trade constituencies in Africa and around the world, including the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians, development partners, academics, researchers and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), will attend the AFT2016.
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