The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and TradeMark EastAfrica (TMEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is set to boost trade in Africa.
AfCFTA and TMEA are now aiming at increasing prosperity in the African continent through the liberalization of trade.
Barriers to trade
The deal which was signed in Lome, Togo, by Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, and Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer at TMEA will now see the organizations embark on working to reduce barriers to trade across Africa.
This will be achieved by supporting engagement with the continent’s private sector on trade and economic development issues.
Digitizing key trade processes
These include digitizing key trade processes at a national level followed by linking these at a regional level and supporting policies to promote e-commerce across the Continent.
Also in the agreement is developing regional value chains and investment; and developing Africa’s cross-border trade with a focus on women traders, youth, and MSMEs.
Share of costs
The agreement will allow the two organizations to share costs and support each other in logistical challenges as they seek to implement programs to develop trade across Africa.
“The MoU will further allow TMEA to carry out the necessary reforms needed to fully implement AfCFTA’s trade agreement, unlocking the Continent’s trade potential and increasing market competition. This will, in turn, translate into much-needed jobs within the target sectors,” said Mene.
“We thank the AfCFTA Secretariat for the strong partnership forged and we look forward to jointly generating impact for trade and prosperity across the Continent for millions of Africans,” said Matsaert.
More about TMEA
TradeMark (Trade and Markets) East Africa is an aid-for-trade organization that was established in 2010, with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade.
The organization operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
TMEA works closely with regional intergovernmental organizations, including the African Union (AU), East Africa Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), national governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations.
In a bid to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on trade for the good of the economy and their citizens, TMEA has created a US$23 million Safe Trade Emergency Facility (STEF) to support Eastern African governments to undertake critical measures along the transport and trade routes that will ensure trade continues safely while protecting livelihoods.
The organization has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, with successful operations and offices in EAC-Arusha, Burundi (Bujumbura), Democratic Republic of Congo (Bukavu), Ethiopia (Addis-Ababa), Horn of Africa (Hargeisa), Malawi (Lilongwe), Rwanda (Kigali), South Sudan (Juba), Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) and Uganda (Kampala).
The AfCFTA is the flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable development across the continent over the next 50 years.
It aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among the member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, and competition policy.
The Agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification with the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson – the designated depositary for this purpose.
This date marked 30 days after the 22-country threshold had been reached on 29 April 2019, as stipulated in Article 23 of the Agreement.
As of July 2021, 37 countries have both signed and deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification with the AUC Chairperson. Of the 55 AU member states, only Eritrea has yet to join.