A two-day East African Community (EAC) workshop aimed at enhancing the participation of women in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has identified that female traders, youths, and SMEs in Africa face significant challenges when attempting to benefit from multilateral and regional trade agreements. This is because many trade agreements do not include their specific needs and concerns.
Addressing the opening session of the workshop, the EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo, who represented the EAC Secretary-General, noted that it is important that this challenge be considered.
According to him, it is the goal of the EAC to ensure that women in the region were fully equipped and capable of accessing and exploiting the numerous opportunities and benefits that accrue from the AfCFTA initiative.
“In EAC, the AfCFTA will allow our people to access a large continental market and increase EAC export to African countries outside the region. It will also improve the movement of people across Africa, advance trade and development aspirations, and ultimately put the region in a better position to trade more with the rest of the world” he said.
Bazivamo revealed that the EAC is keen on the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement having almost finalized the submission of tariff offers, which conform to the agreed modalities in addition to the schedules of liberalization of trade in services. There’s also a draft strategy for implementation of the Agreement under consideration by the partner States, which takes into account the need for capacity building. When achieved, the measures in place by the EAC will help to scale trade activities for women in the region.