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The AfCFTA Secretariat Starts a Process of Consulting with the Stakeholders on The Digital Trade Protocol

In mid-August, the AfCFTA Secretariat will start a process of consulting with stakeholders on ideas for the Digital Trade Protocol over 3 days, starting with West and Central Africa, then East and Southern Africa, and finally Northern Africa. This Protocol was originally called the Ecommerce Protocol but has been broadened to cover all digital trade (for example including data flows) EFA has been invited to take part on the second day. A full report will be available for the Newsletter next month.

Seven countries, (Rwanda, Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, and Tanzania) have been selected to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase. According to the AfCFTA Secretariat, the initiative seeks to demonstrate that AfCFTA is functioning and sends a political message to countries that are yet to submit their provisional schedules of tariff concessions in accordance with agreed modalities. Officials said the initiative will identify companies, products, customs procedures, and logistics processes required to enable a trade to happen under the AfCFTA.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched the first-ever comprehensive tool that measures how easy, or hard, it is to do business between African countries. The AfCFTA Country Business Index (ACBI) has 3 key objectives including assessing the perceived impact of the AfCFTA on the private sector’s ability to trade and invest across African borders once the Area is operational. The ECA has also reported that its Sub-Regional Offices (SROs) worked with more than 40 Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in 2021 on implementing national and regional strategies for the AfCFTA agreement.

Meanwhile, in another move, the Head of Agriculture and Food Security of the African Union Commission, Dr. Simplice Nouala spoke at the ‘First workshop on Food Safety Information and Knowledge Management Systems in Africa’, held by AUC in Cameroon. She said that the AU is concerned with the lack of effective data generation, analysis, and knowledge exchange to support risk assessment, decisions making which could inform food safety policy formulation and harmonisation at a national, regional, and continental level. Better food safety rules could boost inter-African trade.

 

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