The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Malawi’s Ministry of Trade have organised a series of workshops this month to validate the country’s national strategy for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Government officials, business leaders, members of women and youth groups, civil society organisations, development agencies and persons with disability are expected to participate in the workshops planned for Blantyre on Monday, June 7, Lilongwe on Wednesday, June 9, and Mzuzu on Friday June 11.
In a news release issued on Wednesday, Ministry of Trade principal trade officer, Mayeso Msokera said the workshops will provide a platform for stakeholders to verify and validate the content of the strategy, provide a clear structure for its implementation, and enable stakeholders to dialogue and secure ownership of the strategy.
He said: “Malawi’s AfCFTA strategy, which was developed in partnership with the ECA, and with funding from the European Union (EU), will help the country to implement the continental agreement, and contribute to building the productive base and competitive capacities of its goods and service.”
Malawi is one of the 37 member-states that have ratified the AfCFTA agreement out of the 54 countries that have signed it.
The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people in an economic bloc with gross domestic product valued at least $2.5 trillion and usher in a new era of development.
It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction.
The validation meeting of Malawi’s AfCFTA National Strategy is one of the key actions part of the European Union (EU) funded project: ‘Deepening Africa’s Trade Integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA to support Economic Integration’ with a total budget of 8 million euros.
ECA’s Southern Africa office communications officer Lavender Chungu Degre indicated that through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the ECA has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development. The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), and independent trade experts.