Harare – The AfCFTA Secretariat and the UN Development Programme have signed a strategic partnership to promote trade as a stimulus for Africa’s socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
The partnership also seeks to drive sustainable development, particularly for women and youth in Africa, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.
The agreement was sealed by African Continental Free Trade Area Secretary-General Mr Wamkele Mene and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa head, Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa.
The AfCFTA has been ratified by 36 countries, and already possesses 90 percent of tariff offers and 34 services offers, which enable sound business and investment decisions in intra-African trade.
“The AfCFTA is beyond a trade liberalising instrument. It is an enabler of inclusive growth and sustainable development,” said Mr Wamkele Mene.
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free-trade area and trade under it started trading on January 1, 2021. The bloc creates a market of 1.2 billion people and has a combined GDP of US$3 trillion, a figure that is expected to more than double by 2050.
The UNDP said, “Trade is recognised as a mean of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. The new collaboration aims to address inequalities, promote value addition and create jobs. As Africa trades more with itself, it will be essential to target critical hurdles faced in exporting within Africa such as SME export competitiveness; rules of origin; technical and product safety standards.”