AfCFTA: First conference for women, youth in trade opens Monday

Secretary General of the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, will be holding a historic conference in Tanzania to demonstrate commitment to inclusion of women and youth in AfCFTA implementation.
Gracing this all-important event are Samia Suluhu Hasan, president of Tanzania, Vice-President of Liberia- Jewel Taylor, President and Chairman of Afreximbank- Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, President of African Development Bank-Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union- Monique Nsanabaganwa, alongside other dignitaries from different sectors. The conference which takes place from September 12-14 2022, in Dar es Salaam at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center is under the theme “Women and Youth: The Engine of AfCFTA Trade in Africa.” It will provide a platform for women and youth in trade, policymakers, development partners, financiers, and other key stakeholders on the continent to share in-depth perspectives on women and youth in trade.

The overall objective is to develop policy proposals for the draft Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade.
The Conference is also expected to design concrete solutions that enhance the ability of women and youth to take advantage of opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.
Thematic areas for the conference are leadership in trade, financial inclusion, creative industries, digital solutions to trade, informal cross border trade and industrialization and creation of linkages.
Government Officials from Ministries responsible for trade, gender, and youth in Africa, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AfCFTA Strategic Partners, and multilateral institutions among others are expected to participate in the event from different African countries.
The conference is considered a great step for Africa with over 400 million youth population which is critical for the development of trade.

The World Bank has said, “AfCFTA agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world.
“The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion.
It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.”
The World Bank also predicts that Africa’s working-age population should grow by 450 million people by 2035.

However, the continent’s economies are set to produce only 100 million new jobs.

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