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Tralac Annual Conference on the AfCFTA

Tralac (the Trade and Law Research body) held its annual conference in Rwanda in mid-May. The AfCFTA Secretary-General, HE Wamkele Mene (the S-G), was the opening speaker alongside the Rwandan Minister for Trade. The S-G reflected on what has been achieved since Tralac held its first conference 5 years previously, what remains on the negotiating agenda, and provided an update on the timetable for the completion of the negotiations, the lessons learned from the Guided Trade Initiative, and the complementary initiatives which are supporting the implementation of the AfCFTA and the achievement of its objectives. The S-G’s opening was followed by keynotes from Mr Larry Liza, Director, World Customs Organisation, East and Southern African Region Capacity Building, and Commissioner Sam Shivute of the Namibia Revenue Authority, as well as Commissioner Felicien Mwumvaneza, Rwanda’s Commissioner for Customs Services. They provided a reality check on what it takes to facilitate cross-border trade under the AfCFTA. Please use these links for the full Conference Report and the agenda , covered many other important issues including regional and continental value chains, private sector perspectives on the AfCFTA, and the challenging and troubling global geo-economic and geopolitical context and how Africa is responding.

EFA was greatly privileged to be invited to give the ecommerce sector’s views on the Digital Trade Protocol and other relevant initiatives. We followed the drafter of the Protocol from the AfCFTA Secretariat who had outlined the processes and general thrust of the Protocol. As with all these meetings, it is not just the presentations and panels but also the discussions over a coffee or glass of wine that are most important. After the conference finished, EFA contacted the Ecommerce Project set up by the Rwandan government. Rwanda has recently successfully prepared its policy on ecommerce (see below). For more details please contact me ([email protected]).

Alastair Tempest

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