AfDB Fund Approves $11.02m for AfCFTA Secretariat

July 17, 2022
AfCFTA secretariat

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund approved an $11.02 million support package to the permanent secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to help it enhance effective implementation.

The AfCFTA secretariat opened its doors in Accra, Ghana on August 17, 2020, with the initial support of $5 million to set up the secretariat, the programmes, and the tools and to raise stakeholder awareness.

AfCFTA, the world’s second-largest free trade area has a potential market of 1.2 billion consumers. Still, Africa has the world’s lowest level of intraregional trade at less than 18 per cent, compared with 22 per cent, 50 per cent, and 70 per cent for Latin America, Asia, and Europe respectively.

The AfCTFA aims to increase this by up to $35 billion per year (25 per cent) over a decade, lower annual imports by $10 billion, and boost agriculture and industrial exports by up to $45 billion (7 per cent) and $21 billion (5 per cent) respectively.

This second phase of support continues to aim to encourage sustainable intra-African trade and to increase the share of African countries participating in it.

It is also intended to move the African trade integration agenda forward by enabling the secretariat and the countries of the zone – especially transition countries – to harmonize and integrate national and regional trade policy initiatives.

The support will be structured under three components: 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.

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 support capacity building and targeted business skills for women.

Speaking on this, Mr Abdu Mukhtar, Director of the Bank’s Industrial Development and Trade Department, points out the importance of these ties, saying that “The relationship between the AfCTFA Secretariat and the African Development Bank Group is crucial to achieving more significant continental trade and the economic transformation of Africa.

“Our Board’s approval of this grant will enable the secretariat to ensure that trade is conducted in a harmonious, predictable, and free manner on the continent.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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