United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Namibia Sen Pang has said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is committed to an all-inclusive development process to ensure that women, youth and small and medium-sized enterprises are part of its implementation.
Pang made the remarks during a virtual meeting of the Namibia AfCFTA National Consultation on Women in Trade.
He said the implementation will also include integrating informal businesses into the formal economy, which was prompted by the need to develop the protocol on women in trade by the AfCFTA Secretariat, a decision that was taken at the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in December 2020.
‘Governments and women organisations are leading on these national consultations to support the generation of evidence in all programme countries. Further, UN Women is also leading the organisation of a series of workshops at regional level and conducting an online survey to maximise the outreach to women to better understand their needs and priorities, and subsequently generate the relevant evidence that will feed into the development of the AfCFTA Protocol on Women in Trade,’ said Pang.
He added that the UN Economic Commission for Africa is working with member states to develop national strategies to support their AfCFTA implementation readiness, which is also underway in Namibia.
Those at the front of drafting the strategy, he urged, should highly consider the needs and priorities of women, youth and other vulnerable groups that are engaged in trade at the formal and informal sector levels to equally reap the same benefits.
Targeted areas of support in Namibia include capacity development to implement the Namibia AfCFTA National Strategy once finalised, awareness-raising and simplification of the AfCFTA Agreement for the benefit of women and youth entrepreneurs.
UN Development Programme Economics Advisor in Namibia, Wilmot Reeves, said AfCFTA also aims to understand the export profile sectors in which women are engaged in cross-border trade and identify broader value chains linked to the export profile, and to explore specific interests in which women would like to expand within the intra-African trade market.
Source: Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)