The African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation Support Project, a joint project established and funded by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation ITFC and the Trade Development Fund (TDFD), today announced a number of project milestone developments and the execution of key activities to support the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
In January and February, 2022 consultations were held between ECA, EIF, ITFC, TDFD, and the beneficiary countries to prepare the Joint Project’s Terms of Reference and the implementation schedule of key activities.
In the first phase of the project, which runs until June 2023, the approved activities call for the implementation of thirty in-country workshops and the development of insights studies, which are organized into three major categories to support the operationalization of the AfCFTA:
- Capacity building and sensitization on the AfCFTA
- Development of information tools on the AfCFTA
- Development of policy instruments to support AfCFTA implementation
For the people of Africa, it is important to achieve the AfCFTA’s promise of greater and deeper economic integration to attract investment, expand trade, generate better jobs, eliminate poverty, and increase shared prosperity.
The successful implementation of the free trade agreement is essential for the fulfillment of this commitment and the Joint Project beneficiary countries of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo must have the capacity, information tools, and policy instruments to effectively implement the AfCFTA.
This is the rationale behind the development of the Joint project between EIF, IsDB, ITFC, TDFD, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to support the operationalization of the AfCFTA.
The project support activities were proposed by the beneficiary countries in accordance with the action plans included in their national AfCFTA strategies. Since March 2022, the activities executed in the beneficiary countries include the following:
- Burkina Faso – Two national consultation workshops (one workshop for private sector actors on the implementation of the AfCFTA and one for public administration actors on the implementation of the AfCFTA national strategy) and a training workshop for industrialists and foreign trade actors on the Rules of Origin
- Guinea – A training workshop on rules of origin and a workshop to raise awareness on the trade facilitation structures on the AfCFTA
- Niger – Five workshops covering the training of members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee, Rules of Origin, Schedules of Tariff Concessions, and Tariff Concession Lists for customs officers and the awareness on the challenges of the AfCFTA implementation in Niger
- Senegal – An awareness campaign and a training workshop for support and supervisory structures on the AfCFTA
- Togo – A national workshop for the revision of the lists of specific commitments in the five priority sectors of AfCFTA services
During the next stage of phase one of the project, the following themes and issues will be covered in project workshops, events, and studies to the building capacity and develop information tools and policy instruments:
- The development of the maritime transport sector promotion strategy
- Market studies for the ‘Exportable Supply to African Markets’ (onions, livestock, potatoes, sesame, and petroleum product derivatives); ‘The Compliance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)’
- Development of a project bank for the mobilization of internal and external resources
- Development of the exporter’s manual & an e-commerce platforms
- Formulation of service trade promotion strategies
Over 15 approved workshops and other project events are planned in the five beneficiary countries.