The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their collaboration in promoting regional integration and inclusive growth in Africa.
The collaboration will allow UNCTAD to collaborate closely with the AfCFTA Secretariat, African member states, regional economic communities, the business community, and strategic development partners to promote African regional economic integration and growth. The agreement’s collaborative work aims to assist African countries in developing the productive capacities required for more equitable regional integration and participation in global trade.
“Implementation of the AfCFTA is an unprecedented opportunity for African countries to come together as a region and enhance their participation in the global economy,” says UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to expand trade and diversify their economies. The wealth of UNCTAD’s expertise on trade and development in Africa can help the continent make progress on its ambitious development agenda by collaborating with the AfCFTA Secretariat.”
UNCTAD’s research and ongoing work have demonstrated the AfCFTA’s transformative potential. The two organizations will prioritize five key areas based on the depth and breadth of their experiences. These include improving goods trade cooperation, addressing non-tariff measures and non-tariff barriers, and improving trade facilitation and customs cooperation throughout Africa.
“Increased cooperation is at the heart of the AfCFTA,” says Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat. Together, the Secretariat and UNCTAD can multiply the impact of assistance and assist African countries in achieving their integration objectives.”
The two organizations will also collaborate to increase continental trade in services and investment, strengthen intellectual property rights protection, and support the second phase of AfCFTA protocol negotiations on investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and digital trade.
They will also conduct joint capacity-building workshops and training, conduct research and draft technical studies, hold policy dialogues, exchange data and statistics, and monitor and evaluate AfCFTA implementation, among other things.