November 9, 2021 (Addis-Abeba,Ethiopia): The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in 2018 and ratified in Niger in July 2019. The Agreement promises to create a US$ 2.5 trillion market by removing trade barriers and enabling the movement of Africans across borders. Ethiopia is among the 39 African countries that had ratified the AfCFTA agreement by January 2021 and is expected to benefit immensely from the AfCFTA. The Agreement provides Ethiopia with an opportunity to pursue alternative markets to export value-added goods and services. The “Development of national AfCFTA implementation strategies for Ethiopia” is part of the regional effort by AU-IBAR/ICPALD /IGAD to develop strategies for participating in the AfCFTA at the national level. The Strategy identifies ways of achieving the twin objectives of expanding agricultural exports within the IGAD/COMESA region and exporting high-value products to other RECs. A national workshop was held to validate Ethiopia's draft national AfCFTA strategy. This report summarizes the highlights of the two-day workshop.
Dr. Ameha Sebsibe on behalf of the ICPALD Director and Mr John Oppong-Otoo on behalf of AUIBAR Director made welcoming statements. The validation workshop was officially opened by the H.E Endale Mekonen /state Minister of Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MoTRI) . H.E thanked AU-IBAR and ICPALD-IGAD for supporting the initiative to develop strategies for Ethiopia and appreciated the level of the private sector participation at the validation workshop.
The objective of the workshop was to review, enrich and validate the draft report and fine-tune the proposed strategies to ensure that Ethiopia benefits from the Agreement. The following presentations were made and discussed
- Status of AfCFTA negotiations and implementation
- Presentation of the draft National AfCFTA Strategy
- Proposed Strategic objectives and actions
- The consultant closely works with MoTRI; IGAD and AUIBAR and incorporate the inputs; align the strategy document with the agreed four strategic objectives and submit the revised validated version of the strategy on NOV 30, 2021
- IGAD and AUIBAR to support assessment of alternative markets for selected products covering potential African Markets