The industrialisation and trade ministry is scheduled to launch the National African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation Strategy and its Action Plan on 21 November 2022. The ministry will also conduct a training workshop on the status of the AfCFTA negotiations and the Women and Youth Protocol, at the Windhoek Country Club on 22 November 2022.
Namibia signed the AfCFTA Agreement on 2 July 2018 and deposited the instruments of ratification on 1 February 2019. This means the country is set to participate in the AfCFTA, particularly offering opportunities for economic diversification and value chains development and expansion to achieve economic transformation.
According to ministerial spokesperson, Elijah Mukubonda the AfCFTA is integrating gender equality into states’ trade policies through their strategies for AfCFTA implementation in response to gender equality.
“Its preamble recognises the importance of gender equality for the development of international trade and economic cooperation. Article three emphasises the promotion of gender equality as one of the general objectives of AfCFTA, whereas, Article 27 of the Protocol on Trade in Services acknowledges the need to improve the export capacity of formal and informal service suppliers, with particular attention to micro, small and medium-sized operators and women and youth service suppliers,” Mukubonda explained.
He added that part of implementation of the AfCFTA requires capacity building and training of potential beneficiaries on the opportunities the agreement presents. Due to gender inequality in the continent, women and youth entrepreneurs are faced with challenges of lack of access to information on opportunities in their environment and how to take advantage thereof.
Additionally, Mukubonda noted that women and youth are often not aware of how to champion for inclusion in negotiation and implementation of agreements such as the AfCFTA.
It is in this context that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for Africa in collaboration with the MIT will jointly conduct a workshop in Windhoek on 22 November 2022 to train women and youth entrepreneurs, corporates, and current and potential exporters on numerous aspects of the continental agreement.
This includes awareness about the AfCFTA, such as understanding the benefits of the agreement and how to benefit from it; inclusive participation of women in the implementation of the AfCFTA and consultation on provisions to be included in the AfCFTA Women and Youth Protocol.
“The Workshop will also explore gender-related provisions in trade agreements (global and sub-regional) and in AfCFTA strategies and provide an update on the status of ongoing AfCFTA negotiations, to address identified gaps. The training is also open to all journalists and media professionals in Namibia, who wish to broaden their knowledge on the AfCFTA, and is free and open to any individual who wishes to participate,” Mukubonda stated.