African Union Commission Services Sector Development Workshop – Addis Ababa, 1 October 2016
On 1 October 2016, tralac Research Advisor Ashly Hope presented to the African Union Commission’s Workshop on the AU Services Sector Development Programme 2016-2020. The presentation, on financial sector regulation and financial sector development in the context of continental free trade area negotiations, posed three key questions:
What are the objectives of sector development?
What kind of financial problems are we trying to solve?
How can we solve these problems to meet the objectives?
In answering these questions, the presentation urged AU member country delegates to focus on the overarching objectives of promoting and enabling sustainable economic growth when creating sector development plans.
The presentation also suggested that starting by identifying the sectoral ‘problems’ that sector development and regulation are trying to solve is a useful way to ensure that the solutions are directed towards overall objectives.
As part of the response to the third question – how do we solve these problems – the presentation focussed on the relationship between sector development and the negotiations for a continental free trade area, suggesting that sector development was both at the core of a CFTA, and that the CFTA offered an opportunity to reinforce sector development goals.
The session also included discussions on regulatory restrictions as barriers to services trade and the importance of including regulatory disciplines to realise the benefits of services trade.
Ashly and tralac’s Tarik Oguz also observed the remainder of the workshop, which had two main components. The first was sharing success stories on services sector development, including in from COMESA, as well as individual country sectors, such as Nigeria’s film industry, Egypt’s tourism industry and Burkina Faso’s cultural services strategy.
The second component was an outline of the AU Department of Trade and Industry’s proposed Services Sector development strategy – a strategy that, if adopted, will include six pillars, covering:
sector specific strategies;
regulatory audits strengthening regulations and institutions;
capacity building in services;
private sector involvement in policy making;
a communications strategy; and
improved coordination with the regional economic communities.