Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Commonwealth African Regional Trade Consultation held in Mauritius


Commonwealth African Regional Trade Consultation held in Mauritius

Commonwealth African Regional Trade Consultation held in Mauritius
Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GoM

Amid an unprecedented global trade slowdown, African policymakers, negotiators and trade analysts met 25-26 May 2017 in Mauritius to discuss priorities for reviving world trade and strengthening their trading capacity.

Participants discussed the most pressing trade and development challenges for Commonwealth African member states, in the light of unfavourable global economic and trade patterns, rising protectionism and growing discontent about globalisation. The meeting also provided an opportunity to review the current issues for multilateral trade negotiations, especially since the WTO is hosting its 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December.

The meeting furthermore provided a platform for African member states to assess various trade policy options, including UK-Africa trade relations post Brexit, advancing African integration through the Continental Free Trade Agreement, and priority issues for the 6th Global Review of Aid for Trade in July.

Past and present trade negotiators convened to finalise a proposal to establish an informal Commonwealth African Trade Negotiators Network.

Ahead of the meeting, Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser (Regional Trade and Integration Issues) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “African countries are engaged in a range of global, regional and bilateral negotiations on trade and trade-related issues. However, one of the major challenges confronting Africa is the capacity to undertake trade negotiations, although many experienced negotiators from Africa are willing to help.

“This network aims to bring these negotiators together and provide a ‘think tank’ for Africa for future trade negotiations. Drawing on the collective experience, knowledge and wisdom of present and past trade negotiators, the network will help set out strategic priorities for Africa’s current and future trade agenda, assess opportunities and challenges, brainstorm particular negotiating and policy issues, and explore ways to unlock any impasse in some of the negotiations.”

Presentations from the Regional Consultation are available to download, with thanks to Brendan Vickers from the Commonwealth Secretariat.


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