Lome (Togo), 7 July 2021 (ECA) – Togo’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Local Consumption, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), is organizing a series of workshops for women traders and entrepreneurs to develop their capacity to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The workshops running from 1 July to 15 July in six cities, including the capital Lomé, Kpalimé, Atakpamé, Sokodé, Kara, and Dapaong, will enable the beneficiaries to identify the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA, measures taken by Togo to take advantage of the agreement, and to identify export markets for Togolese goods. They will also be trained on the relevance of documents required for export operations and non-tariff barriers faced in foreign markets.
In his message to the opening session, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Local Consumption, Claude Talime Abe expressed his pleasure with the involvement of the private sector in general and women in particular in the implementation of the AfCFTA in the country.
"The proper application of the provisions of this agreement requires from you a perfect understanding and mastery of the procedures and conditions that goods must meet to benefit from the continental preference," he said.
The ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Togo, Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, in his own speech, said: "It is essential to ensure now that the AfCFTA is implemented from a gender perspective and that the women involved, those who are in cross-border trade as well as those who produce goods or services to be traded across borders, are well informed of this opportunity," he said.
Also speaking, Komi Tsowou, who represented the ECA, said the implementation of the agreement would allow the key players in the economy “to integrate a number of regional and continental value chains as identified in the national strategy for the implementation of the AfCFTA that Togo has developed.”
Some 350 women from 35 groups across the country are taking part in the workshops as part of the EU-funded project: "Deepening Africa's Trade Integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA to Support Economic Integration."
The ECA through its African Trade Policy Centre has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) to deepen Africa’s trade integration through the effective implementation of the agreement by supporting the AfCFTA ratification process through policy advocacy. The ECA is also assisting the member-states to develop national strategies for the implementation of the AfCFTA in partnership with the AUC, International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts with the financial support of the EU.
The AfCFTA is set to create the biggest free trade area in the world with a market of more than 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$2.5 trillion. The bloc has immense opportunities for increasing intra-regional trade, enhancing production, promoting economies of scale, creating jobs, raising incomes and improving the standard of living of the African people.
For more information, please contact: Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, CEA- BSR/AO,
Sub-Regional Office for West Africa
428 Avenue du Fleuve Niger
P.O. BOX 744