Building capacity to help Africa trade better


The Guided Trade Initiative: Lessons from Cameroon’s Experience

26 May 2024 ~ Cham Etienne Bama
Launched on October 7, 2022, the African Continental Free Trade Area Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) aims to operationally kick-start trade under the Agreement. The legal basis for the AfCF...read more

Can Gas Transform Mauritania?

24 May 2024 ~ David Christianson
The western Sahel state of Mauritania features on both the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries and the US-based Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index. Yet it is both more st...read more

Limits to Algeria’s gas boom

24 May 2024 ~ David Christianson
Algeria is a surprise major beneficiary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The invasion by Vladimir Putin’s government saw European countries scrambling to reduce depend...read more

Are Egypt’s Reforms built on Sand?

24 Apr 2024 ~ David Christianson
Egypt’s decision, taken in March 2024, to float its currency appears to be a signal that the country is taking its pro-market reform programme seriously. The over-valued Egyptian pound h...read more

Accelerating Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs: Gateway to regional, continental, and international trade

06 Apr 2024 ~ Mary Frances Malunga
Access to finance is a key barrier for women entrepreneurs. Women in business, trade and export face gender biases as they seek access to finance. Financial institutions question the abili...read more

What Happened at the WTO’s Thirteenth Ministerial Conference?

18 Mar 2024 ~ Emily Pender
The results of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – held between the 26th of February and midnight on the 2nd of March in Abu Dhabi – were mix...read more

What MC13 Achieved for Least Developed Countries

11 Mar 2024 ~ Emily Pender
Delegates of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met for the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) between the 26th of February and the 2nd of March in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE...read more

Export Competitiveness, Export Diversification and Deindustrialisation in Sub-Saharan Africa

29 Feb 2024 ~ John Stuart
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is a large, resource-rich region but one which lags the global aggregate in terms of industrialisation. This is of concern not least because of the developmental p...read more

Is Sub-Saharan Africa Deindustrialising? Interrogating Value-Chain and Trade Data

29 Feb 2024 ~ John Stuart
While most economists agree on the need for accelerated industrialisation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there is less consensus on whether the region has experienced a long term decline in ...read more

The EAC wants to become a “Political Confederation”. What could this mean?

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The media recently reported that the process of transforming the EAC into a political confederation “is in progress”.[1] Certain recommendations have already been made by a “Committe...read more

Where does the AfCFTA stand at the beginning of 2024?

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Fifty-four African Union (AU) member states have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement (only Eritrea has not[1]) and 47 have ratified it.[2] At present, the Non...read more

South Africa’s participation in the Guided Trade Initiative of the AfCFTA

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The negotiations to adopt the legal instruments of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) were launched in 2015. Four years later the AfCFTA founding Agreement and its Protocols ...read more

Ministerial Directive 1/2021 clarifies and expands the legal basis of the AfCFTA

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is anchored in a comprehensive set of legal instruments. They have been negotiated, adopted, and ratified to ensure that the founding Agree...read more

Notification of the AfCFTA in terms of WTO rules

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Practically all African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) State Parties are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the AfCFTA must therefore be notified and function in terms...read more

Comparing the Abuja Treaty and the AfCFTA Agreement

29 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
African economic integration has a long history. Both the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was Africa’s first post-independence cont...read more

What’s on the Cards for MC13? Reform, E-Commerce, Fish Subsidies and more

28 Feb 2024 ~ Emily Pender
The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) has begun in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and will run until the 29th of February 2024. The list of topics and deliverables to ...read more

The AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol – clarification of key issues

25 Feb 2024 ~ John Stuart
The Digital Trade Protocol (‘the Protocol’) of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a document intended to define the environment for digital trade between members of th...read more

The AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade and Trade-Driven Development in Africa

24 Feb 2024 ~ John Stuart
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade (the ‘Protocol’) aims to enhance the involvement of women and youth within the AfCFTA. It outlines...read more

SA’s New Energy Vehicle future hangs in the balance

24 Feb 2024 ~ David Christianson
As promised, South Africa’s finance minister, Enoch Godongwana, did announce incentives for New Energy Vehicle (NEV) manufacturing in his 2024 budget speech. But the package is decidedly...read more

Africa’s Visa Openness in 2023: Analysis of the Africa Visa Openness Report

20 Feb 2024 ~ Emily Pender
Cross-border movement of persons is essential for Africa’s regional integration; for the facilitation of trade in goods, growth of trade in services and related service sector developmen...read more

Indaba Insights: The Mining Outlook in 2024

20 Feb 2024 ~ Emily Pender
The theme of 2024’s Mining Indaba was “Embracing the power of positive disruption: A bold new future for African mining”. The three key, “positive disruptors” discussed were envi...read more

Mining Indaba 2024 – South Africa cold-shouldered at its own party

19 Feb 2024 ~ David Christianson
Although the Mining Indaba was held at its usual venue in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2024, participants showed very little interest in the host country. Delegates and speakers were far mo...read more

The Digital Trade Protocol of the AfCFTA and Digitally-Driven Development in Africa

15 Feb 2024 ~ John Stuart
One of the important protocols forming part of the set of agreements within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the Digital Trade Protocol (‘the Protocol’). This protoc...read more

SARS Investigation (and Ports Crisis) Scare Off Cargo Carriers Despite opportunities resulting from the Red Sea Crisis Reroute

15 Feb 2024 ~ Emily Pender
The Situation At the State of the Nation (SONA) address on 8 February 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of the role that South Africa could play in global trade given the Red Sea cris...read more

Infrastructural development under the AfCFTA

14 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Apart from Annexes dealing with customs administration and border governance issues, the AfCFTA Agreement does not mention infrastructural development explicitly as one of its objectives. ...read more

Too Much Gloom at Davos

14 Feb 2024 ~ David Christianson
The organizers of the World Economic Forum (WEF) do not always get the selected theme quite right. Some years, the great and the good who attend the annual uber-capitalist event in Switzer...read more

Three’s a Crisis: Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali announce that they will leave ECOWAS

13 Feb 2024 ~ Emily Pender
On 8 February, the foreign ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened to address the potential loss of three member states. At the end of January Niger, M...read more

A messy withdrawal from ECOWAS

12 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
On 29 January 2024, the military juntas of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Their explanation was that ...read more

The WTO Dispute Settlement Impasse: What is happening?

12 Feb 2024 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The WTO’s Understanding on Dispute Settlement (DSU) provides World Trade Organisation (WTO) members with a legal framework for resolving trade disputes that arise between them when imple...read more

Africa out of the spotlight at the World Economic Forum?

24 Jan 2024 ~ Emily Pender
Last week, the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place in Davos, Switzerland. In recent years, Africa was at the forefront of discussions, but this year lacked hig...read more


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