The African Development Bank Group and the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have signed a Protocol of Agreement for an $11.24 million support package to enhance the Secretariat’s effective implementation.
The signing took place on 25 July 2022, on the margins of the ninth meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for trade, held in Accra, Ghana.
The AfCFTA Secretariat, currently in phase II of its implementation phase, will benefit from this support package, which aims to boost sustainable intra-Africa trade and to augment the number of participating African member states. The funds are intended to move the African trade integration agenda forward.
The grant, approved in July by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, will focus on three areas: institutional strengthening of the AfCFTA Secretariat; private sector support to implement the AfCFTA, and support of climate-resilient regional and continental value chains to boost intra-Africa trade.
In addition, studies and initiatives will be undertaken to identify new business and economic opportunities for women, to help develop the AfCFTA Women and Youth in Trade Protocol, and to support capacity building and targeted business skills for women.
H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat signed the agreement on behalf of his organization, while African Development Group Bank Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Yacine Fal, signed on behalf of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group.
Wamkele Mene said: “We welcome the support of the Bank as this is a clear indication of our strategic partnership that will strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat and facilitate the start of commercially meaningful trade under the AfCFTA preferences. The COVID-19 pandemic and the current geopolitical tensions have created an ethos of urgent collective action for the implementation of the AfCFTA. We all have a shared responsibility to change the destinies of all Africans as we achieve the laudable objective of the AfCFTA.”
“The African Development Bank is proud of the strong partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat and confident that this institutional support will help support our respective mandates to spur greater continental trade and economic transformation, in line with Agenda 2063’s vision of the Africa we want,” Fal said. “Africa’s hope for building back strong and better lies with the successful implementation of the AfCTA.”
About the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA):
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want and entered into force on 30 May 2019. It is a high ambition trade agreement, which aims to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union, covering a market of more than 1.3 billion people, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas. By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objective of the AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and trade across all services sectors of Africa’s economy, at a potential of 52.3 percent.