Report – 14th Webinar – 25 August 2022, 14h00 to 15h30 (CAT; UCT +0200)

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Introduction

This WCO-ESA-RPSG webinar – the 14th of its kind – titled “AfCFTA: Uptake and Challenges” provided essential updates on the progress of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. The event was headlined by two distinguished speakers, Mohamed Ali, Director of Trade in Goods and Competition of the AfCFTA Secretariat, and Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director of the Trade Law Centre (tralac).

The webinar was chaired by Juanita Maree (WCO ESA-RPSG Chair), with expert commentary and guidance by Larry Liza (WCO ESA-ROCB), and technical support by Jacob van Rensburg (WCO ESA-RPSG Executive Coordinator).

Outline of the agenda:

  1. Welcome & rules of engagement: Juanita Maree
  2. Expert discussions:
    1. Mohamed Ali – “AfCFTA: Uptake and Challenges
    1. Trudi Hartzenberg – “AfCFTA and the Private Sector
  3. Question and Answer opportunity
  4. Closure and final thoughts

1. Discussions and takeaways

During the event, several poll questions wielded fascinating results. Some highlights include that 45% believed that the AfCFTA would increase intra-African trade to between 20-30%, and 31% think that it will increase to 30-40%, compared to the current figure of 14%. Despite some optimism in the group, 24% of attendees said there is insufficient information on the AfCFTA. Lastly, on a more positive note, 84% of attendees believed that SMMEs would benefit from the AfCFTA, which is vital considering that the vast majority of trade in Africa is informal and takes place between small entities.

The presentations to the webinar are available here:


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