Africa’s positive Aid for Trade trends; more needed to overcome constraints
Although Aid for Trade in Africa is starting to show results, interventions are urgently needed to overcome the short and long term constraints this was the key message by the Economic Commission for Africa underlining “African Case Stories: A Snapshot of Aid for Trade on the Ground in Africa”. The publication captures the African experiences on how AfT is progressing on the continent from a total of 114 submitted case stories.
“Since the AfT Initiative was launched in the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting in 2005, Africa has received technical and financial assistance for trade-related activities.” In addition, “AfT funding has been kept and priority areas and categories identified by beneficiaries are being targeted,” according to ECA experts.
The study’s baseline period (2002-2005) shows the momentum of increasing commitments and disbursements has been sustained, with the structure of allocations remaining the same.
In 2009 Africa surpassed Asia, becoming the first recipient of AfT disbursements since the initiative was launched.
Although AfT continues to be primarily channelled to infrastructure, a growing share of commitments is going to building trade capacities and trade policy and regulations. This progress, says ECA is promising – largely because AfT is increasingly matching expectations in the continent and all partners are showing strong willingness in supporting the initiative.
AfT that is aimed at projects with a regional dimension is on the rise, with an emphasis on economic infrastructure, building productive capacities and trade facilitation. However, more interventions are urgently needed to overcome the short and long term constraints. In addition, it has been difficult to target greater employment, diversification or positive gender or poverty impacts through AfT interventions.
With improved M&E mechanisms and tools, it might be possible to fine-tune AfT responses to desired outcomes.