• AfCFTA creates a market of 1.2 billion people and the eighth economic bloc in the world with a $3-trillion combined GDP.

April 15, 2021: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a strategic partnership to promote trade as a stimulus for Africa’s socioeconomic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, and as a driver of sustainable development particularly for women and youth in Africa, in line with the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

The agreement was sealed by the AfCFTA secretary general Wamkele Mene, accompanied by ambassador Fatima Mohammed Kyari, permanent observer of the African Union to the United Nations, and by the UN assistant secretary-general and director of the UNDP regional bureau for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa.

“The AfCFTA is beyond a trade liberalizing instrument. It is an enabler of inclusive growth and sustainable development,” said Mene, who made the journey to New York for the historic occasion. “We must rebalance Africa’s role in global trade. As African countries implement Covid -19 recovery plans, this collaboration with UNDP will drive momentum, on the ground in AfCFTA State parties, to ensure that women and youth are the leading beneficiaries of the AfCFTA.”

The partnership will leverage UNDP’s presence in all African countries, working in close collaboration with other UN entities, and includes direct support to the AfCFTA Secretariat through a financial grant of $3 million. This will enhance AfCFTA Secretariat advocacy among policy makers, business, civil society, academia, youth and other stakeholders.

AfCFTA started trading on January 1, 2021, creating a market of 1.2 billion people and the eighth economic bloc in the world with a $3-trillion combined GDP, that is expected to more than double by 2050.

The partnership signing is part of a two-day official visit to New York by the AfCFTA Secretariat Secretary General. Since its launch, the AfCFTA has been ratified by 36 countries, and already possesses 90 percent of tariff offers and 34 services offers, which enables sound business and investment decisions in intra-African trade, strengthening accelerated action for trade as a means of implementation for the Africa We Want.

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