The International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the African Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank), this week launched a new training programme for small businesses on how to export within the African Continental Free Area (AfCFTA).
The two organizations launched the programme at the ongoing Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 which is taking place in Durban, South Africa until 21 November 2021. The training programme aims to break down trade barriers for previously under-represented groups.
The How to Export with the AfCFTA training programme has been developed with African enterprises in mind. Its overall aim is to support the operationalization of the AfCFTA and to equip small businesses with the skills to seize the export opportunities presented by the new trading environment.
Afreximbank and ITC launched the pilot of this programme in Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Rwanda in 2020. Within a week of its unveiling, the high level of interest in the learning contents was quickly apparent, with approximately 1,500 applications for the course received in the first few days.
Designed using a problem-solving approach, the new training programme uses case studies to examine key export concepts in relation to enterprises and the challenges faced in the export field.
The concepts include export readiness, market research, market development, market access conditions, trade finance and international logistics. Entrepreneurs will benefit from its focus on intra-African export operations and advantages related to intra-regional trade.
ITC and Afreximbank have made the programme’s online component freely available on the Afreximbank Academy online platform to ensure that previously marginalized groups including women and youth have access.
Following the successful implementation of the pilot phase, phase two will include the translation of the programme, currently available in English and French, into Arabic and Portuguese. It will also expand its online component to all 55 African countries.
“The How to Export with the AfCFTA training programme is crucial in empowering African small businesses and accelerating intra-African trade. Besides a shortage of working capital, small businesses consistently report difficulties in identifying foreign business opportunities and an inability to analyse export markets as the biggest barriers to exporting. Providing them with information, knowledge and tools to overcome the challenges of international trade, the training programme will play a pivotal role in enabling them to contribute to the Agreement’s success.”