Global Advocacy - UNECA
ECA’s support is provided to the WTO negotiations with the organisation, jointly with AUC, of regular retreats for African Group of Ambassadors in Geneva. This platform has for example offered opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the WTO which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15-19 December 2015, and to exchange views on the future of multilateral trade negotiations and is currently supporting African countries’ efforts to come up with a strong position ahead of the next WTO Ministerial Conference expected to be held in Argentina in December 2017. ATPC participated in WTO-China Dialogue on least-developed countries (LDCs) and development in Annecy, in September 2016, to review evolving trade and investment patterns with a view to identifying how the development dividend can be maximized for LDCs and their South-South partners.
A series of background papers were produced, in collaboration with the South Centre, to inform the African Group in Geneva on the following emerging issues in the multilateral trading system: i) e-Commerce; ii) Domestic support; iii) Special and differentiated treatment; iv) Small and medium sized enterprises; v) Multilateral investment rules at the WTO; vi) TRIPS and WTO negotiations. These six papers are going to be compiled in one single report for consideration by the African Group of negotiators in Geneva, which better inform the Group’s negotiating positions on these issues.
In collaboration with the African Union Commission and other stakeholders, ECA organized African Trade Week (ATW) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November28 to December 2, 2016 under the theme “Continental Free Trade Area and Trade Facilitation”. ATW facilitated discussions on how to examine Africa’s trade relations with Asia, Europe, the United States and emerging markets and how to recalibrate them to ensure coherence with the CFTA initiative.
Continental tariff liberalization is not enough. Improved trade facilitation will be key to reducing intra-African trade costs and maximizing the gains from the CFTA project. ATW provided the place to discuss issues such as: What level of liberalization should the continent aim for at the beginning given adjustment costs; What safeguards are needed to protect the most vulnerable and those that may be driven out of business by the CFTA; Which sectors should countries liberalize etc.