Addis Ababa, 19 March 2021 (ECA) -- The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) are on organizing a webinar 21 March to discuss how to advance Africa’s green transition in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) era. The virtual event whose theme is “Building back better through greening the AfCFTA” is one of the side events planned during the annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The session is the result of a partnership forged between the ECA and ODI designed to assess the connections between trade and climate change in the context of the AfCFTA and Africa’s structural transformation agenda.
ATPC trade expert, Lily Sommer said: “In building back better, Africa can take strategic advantage of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to advance the green transition agenda. “ Among other things, the event will aim to answer questions like what role trade can play in mitigating and adapting to climate change in Africa, and what actions are required by African policymakers and businesses for African countries to harness the AfCFTA to further the green agenda.
It will also examine how the AfCFTA can be utilized to develop a common African position on trade and climate change to help secure the continent’s trade and climate interests in other forums, including at the multilateral level, as well as how green technologies can support intra-African trade and environmental sustainability, she said.
Scheduled to speak at the seminar are Fatima Denton, Director of the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa at the United Nations University (UNU-INRA); Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General, African Organization for Standardization (ARSO); Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Director and Regional Representative for Africa, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and Dominic McVey, Board Director, ODI.
David Luke, Coordinator of the ATPC is scheduled to moderate while Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, a Senior Research Fellow of ODI is to be the presenter.
The AfCFTA intersects the green agenda through specific provisions in its protocols, and the strategies adopted to drive its implementation. The AfCFTA provides an opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product of more than $2.5 trillion which is expected to usher in a new era of development. Trading under the pact commenced on 1 January this year after a postponement for six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction. It will also constitute a significant milestone towards the realization of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for the socio-economic transformation of the continent. The ECA, through ATPC, has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states of the AU to deepen Africa's trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development. The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union to assist with the implementation of the agreement.
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