The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Secretariat, in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will host an information sharing workshop on the AfCFTA and a regional dialogue on emerging market opportunities for the SACU region. This initiative follows collaboration between the AfCFTA Secretariat and the Team Europe Technical Assistance Facility (EU-TAF) to support the AfCFTA and Continental Economic Integration.
The two-day event is scheduled to take place on 1 and 2 June 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event aims to disseminate information to relevant stakeholders within the SACU region, thereby creating synergies for the effective implementation of the AfCFTA. The outcomes of this seminar will also be used as insight for the ongoing work of sensitising the business community on the trade agreements concluded by SACU.
SACU regards the AfCFTA as a strategic continental instrument; hence, the implementation and leveraging of the AfCFTA has been prioritised as one of the pillars that underpin the recently approved SACU Strategic Plan for 2022–2027.
According to a statement, SACU aims to position itself to take full advantage of the AfCFTA through industrialisation, the development of regional value chains, export promotion and investment attraction and promotion.
The primary objectives of the workshop include support for SACU member states’ efforts in publicising and creating awareness about the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Sensitise the business community in SACU on trade and investment opportunities; providing information to the business community on trade-related measures; providing information to the business community, governments and other stakeholders on various financing facilities and instruments available to support the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Providing a platform for business-to-business networking and cross regional economic and trade blocks to enhance business interactions across different regions of the continent and showcase; and presenting potential export and sourcing opportunities for SACU businesses within the AfCFTA market.
The target audience for the workshop will, among others, include traders, MSMEs, youth and women (mainly engaged in cross-border trade or planning to do so) from SACU and other regional trade blocs, government officials from SACU member states, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, customs administrations, export and trade promotion agencies, investors, research institutions, key civil society organizations and academia. Through this initiative, SACU remains committed to ensuring the African Union theme of the year 2023, ‘The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’ is realised.