Building capacity to help Africa trade better

AU services experts meet to develop services sector development program in the context of the AfCFTA


AU services experts meet to develop services sector development program in the context of the AfCFTA

AU services experts meet to develop services sector development program in the context of the AfCFTA
Photo credit: CIAT

The Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission is organizing from 18-22 June 2018 in Nairobi, the AU Experts Meeting on the Services Sector Development Program.

The main objective of the workshop is to brainstorm with Services Experts from Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Private Sector on strategies to develop services trade sectors in order to support inclusive growth and development. The workshop is designed to guide the identification of specific flanking measures within the framework of the SSDP that would assist with trade in services liberalization.

Representing the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Jamie Alexander Macleod indicated that services are critical, not just because they represent over half of the GDP of the African continent, but because they also play a vital facilitative role in lubricating the development of the industrial sector, and in turn the structural transformation of Africa's economies.

“Key outcomes of these meetings for ECA include identifying where and how best we can target resources to build capacities for the effective negotiation of schedules of commitment in the AfCFTA services protocol,” he said.

He pointed out that trade in services in the AfCFTA presents tremendous value for African countries, but also tends to be a relatively difficult area of trade negotiations. “For this reason, as we move forward in the AfCFTA services negotiations, this week's workshop is particularly timely and relevant.”

In delivering his welcome address on behalf of the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr. Nadir Merah, Head of Trade Division of the African Union Commission, pointed out that the workshop was taking place against the background of the rise in the contribution of services to most African economies, while agriculture and manufacturing remain an important contribution to their GDP. He indicated that the share of the services sector has continued to growth over the past years.

Mr. Merah mentioned that the role and share of the services sector is expected to grow even further, in particular with the digitization of the economy, which, he said, has led to the creation of new business models and the shift from traditional to innovative services such as telemedicine and e-learning.

Before he concluded, the Head of Trade Division recalled the objectives of the workshop and reminded participants that developing and implementing a robust AU Services Sector Development Programme will contribute immensely towards promoting growth, trade diversification, boosting intra-African trade and help achieve Africa’s structural transformation.

The Meeting is also being attended by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), Independent Services Consultants, Academics and Researchers, as well as Representatives of Services Sector Federations and Associations from Africa.


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