On the eve on the signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement two new trade support or lobbying organizations are vying for the attention of Head of States in Kigali.
- The Afrochampion Initiative – The website describes the organization as… a set of innovative public-private partnerships and flagship programs designed to galvanize African resources and institutions to support the emergence and success of African private sector multinational champions in the regional and global spheres.
The Initiative focuses on Advocacy on Private-Sector Driven African Integration, Policy Innovations to Drive intra-African Commerce, Corporate Best Practices that Champion Africa, Capacity Building in pan-African multinational management, Corporate Networking, Research, Benchmarking & Knowledge-sharing,
Founded by the advisory firm Konfidants, the organization is Co-Chaired by President Thabo Mbeki and Mr. Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group.
Afrochampion will be in Kigali sponsoring a full Business Day.
- Pan African Private Sector Trade Policy Committee (PAFTRAC) – Initially driven by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Ecobank Transnational Inc. (Ecobank), International Trade Centre (ITC) and with the blessing of the WTO was left dormant from 2011 until the eve of the CFTA signature. PAFTRAC has come in-force again under the leadership of Afreximbank to become the top voice of the private sector on the CFTA, eventually reporting directly to the Conference of African trade Ministers.
The organization has yet to call its first constituent assembly. Rendez-vous in Kigali is set for March 2018 at the Summit of Head of States to launch the Committee.
The Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission is organizing the fourth Meeting of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) of the CFTA from 6-17 November 2017 to consider the draft Texts of the CFTA Agreement, its Protocols and its Annexes.
The Meeting is being attended by Chief Negotiators and Trade experts from AU Member States, Trade Experts from the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognised by the AU, members of the CFTA Continental Task Force (CTF), African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
While welcoming participants, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pointed out that the CFTA is a priority agenda for the African Union Assembly.
“It is of vital importance to continue to keep in mind that the CFTA is a significant mandate to the African Union Summit. It is the hope of the leaders that significant achievements are recorded in the near future,” he said.
He reminded the Meeting that the timeline for concluding the CFTA is next month and highlighted the advantages of the establishment of the CFTA and urged participants to do all that is required to be done to finalize their work as the Technical Working Groups. “I am confident that you are up to the task,” he concluded.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Treasure Thembisile Maphanga, Director for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission recalled the achievements of the last Session of the CFTA Negotiating Forum in Addis Ababa, in October 2017 and expressed her appreciation for the commitment of the Member States in moving the CFTA forward.
“We have witnessed the CFTA Chief Negotiators confirming their commitment to conclude the CFTA Agreement by end of 2017. They have clearly outlined the benefits that will accrue from the establishment of the CFTA,” she underscored.
She announced that AU Ministers of Trade are expected to meet in Niamey, Niger from 1-2 December 2017 to consider the Draft Texts on the Agreement Establishing the CFTA, Protocols and annexes. The Director for Trade and Industry acknowledged that the assignment ahead of the participants is very critical to the conclusion of the CFTA Negotiations by end of this year.
Mrs Maphanga indicated that the Draft Agreement Establishing the African CFTA should be ready by end of this month together with three protocols namely the Protocol on Trade in Services, the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the Protocol on Dispute Settlement Mechanism. According to her, the Protocol on Trade in Services will have two Annexes, namely, Schedules of Commitments and Regulatory Frameworks. And the Protocol on Trade in Goods will include; Tariff Liberalization Schedules, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Transit and Transit Facilitation, Non-Tariff Barriers, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and phytosanitary Measures, and Trade Remedies annexes.
Before she concluded, Mrs. Treasure Maphanga emphasized that the journey before Member States is to create One Africa with One Market and One Strong Voice, in line with the AU Agenda 2063’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena”.
“We owe it to ourselves and future generations to create an integrated market that expands opportunity for our socio-economic progress,” she concluded.
In his speech, Amb. Chiedu Osakwe, Nigerian Chief Trade Negotiator and Director-General of Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) pointed out that the Continent’s best chance to address the dual pressure of the dramatic increases in Africa’s population and associated unemployment pressures, is to create the Single Market for Trade in Goods and Services on the legal and policy framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
“On the basis of the CFTA Africa can grow intra-African trade, expand investments, modernize our economies, integrate our businesses into regional and global supply chains and hence (create) more jobs for Africans,” he underlined.
He went on and quoted Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who opened last week the High-Level Forum on Trade and Investment Facilitation for Development, and reaffirmed the core position that: “On the CFTA, there is no plan B for us. We absolutely must succeed!”
“The final stretch is always the hardest part. I am confident that we shall get it done. The stakes in the CFTA are very high and it is a win-win for all our countries,” he concluded.
The 8th Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum (CFTA-NF) will kick off from 20-25 November, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria to undertake negotiations on the text of the Agreement Establishing the CFTA, undertake negotiations on the Protocols on Trade in Goods, complete negotiations on the Protocol on Trade in Services, and conclude work on several Annexes.
We bring to your attention a call for applications for MSc and PhD Scholarship opportunities at the African Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management - a World Bank sponsored project (ACE - II) in Egerton University.
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The team working on Employment for Stability project held its last workshop on July 5th, 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to share the most recent results produced by the multidisciplinary research team. The objective was to share lessons and discuss the results of the research with policy makers, academics, researchers, UN and international organizations’ experts and private sector stakeholders. It was hoped that the substance of these discussions would be used to inform the development of the final report. A total of 31 people attended the half-day workshop.
The workshop program, prepared and presented by the researchers, included 3 presentations of 15–30 minutes duration, which described the evidence from six African countries on the relationship between economic opportunity and stability, the case of Rwanda as an example, and the potential roles for strategic engagement nationally, regionally and internationally to improve both development and stability.
A type of charcoal made from eucalyptus trees could provide the solution to South Africa's polluted water.
A University of Stellenbosch academic is developing a low-cost, low-tech water purification system with the charcoal, which will remove organic compounds from waste water in urban areas, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security said on Monday.
The charcoal, called biochar, could remove organic, some inorganic, and microbiological contaminants from water.
Professor Gunnar Sigge and collaborators at the Universities of Venda and Pretoria developed the purification system.
Sigge and colleagues tested different types of biochar made of pine and eucalyptus to maximize the amount of pollutants removed from the water. Of the two tree species tested, eucalyptus provided the best biochar.
"This filtration method could benefit subsistence farmers. And, with further development, eucalyptus biochar could be used to remove organic pollutants from wastewaters produced by wineries and the food industry."
Read More at:- http://allafrica.com/stories/201702080388.html