Trading under the preferential terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) commenced on January 1 2021. The AfCFTA will create a single African market for goods and services covering 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$3 trillion through the progressive elimination of tariffs, the removal of non-tariff barriers, cooperation in customs arrangements and related areas, liberalization of trade in services, and developing African disciplines on Intellectual Property Rights, Investment, Competition and E-Commerce.
Considering the important role of the private sector in this newly established market, the potential of the region, which consolidated market size can attract investments into the region, the ECOWAS Commission is scheduled to implement a range of awareness and capacity building programmes for producers, traders and service suppliers to maximize the opportunities within the AfCFTA.
For this purpose, on April 07th 2021, the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with UNDP, will launch a training programme aiming at strengthening the capacities of the private sector in the region in general and, more specifically, the capacities of women to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
As part of this initiative, a "training-of-trainers" will be conducted from April 07th to 09th, 2021, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to ensure a wider outreach of their training module on the AfCFTA for the private sector. This three-day training module will aim at providing both theoretical and practical knowledge on the AfCFTA and improving teaching skills in order to help the private sector understand the terms, measure the potential benefits and take advantage of the provisions of the AfCFTA.
As part of this training, highlights will be given to priority value chains, regional strategy, and ECOWAS approach and priorities. Also, issues related to the identification of applicable tariffs, regulations, and institutions, completing trade formalities, meeting standards and certification requirements will be taught, among others.
Trainees will come from Business Associations in the ECOWAS region. Representatives of the ECOWAS Commission, African Union Commission (AUC), Afrexim Bank, German development agency (GIZ), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will also participate in the conduct of the training of trainers workshop.