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African Continental Free Trade Area

Making the AfCFTA Work for Women and Youth

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Making the AfCFTA Work for Women and Youth
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Thursday, December 2, 2021
Abstract in English: 
The Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a legal instrument – an agreement among the African Union Member States to create a single market. But the AfCFTA represents much more. On the one hand, it is a significant milestone on the journey to African integration and development. On the other hand, it is a catalyst for new ways of doing business, producing, working and trading within Africa and with the rest of the world. This report demonstrates that, beyond the numbers and negotiations, the realization of this promise will depend on decisive actions and the collective efforts of the African people. Concrete policy measures and investments are needed, in particular to ensure that women and youth, who account for the majority of the population, business owners and workforce, can be better integrated into the value chains, jobs and opportunities stemming from the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA is also central to recovering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and enhancing Africa’s resilience. Trade of all types of goods and services underpins efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union cannot be implemented without the AfCFTA. In anticipation of trading under AfCFTA terms in 2021, the ‘Futures Report: Making the AfCFTA Work for Women and Youth’ is a narrative about the promise of the AfCFTA as told through the voices of Africa’s producers, traders, policy officials and regulators. Under the Agreement, African Union Member States, now also AfCFTA State parties, explicitly seek to achieve gender equality and enhance the export capacity of women and youth. This report presents opportunities in the AfCFTA, as pursued by women and youth entrepreneurs and business owners, and discusses ongoing efforts by Governments and development institutions to ensure that these groups derive maximum benefit from the Agreement. Policy actions to implement the protocols already in force are also presented to enable the AfCFTA to work to the greatest advantage of Africa’s women and youth.
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