Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Trade, Climate and Sustainability in the AfCFTA

Trade Reports

Trade, Climate and Sustainability in the AfCFTA

Trade, Climate and Sustainability in the AfCFTA

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The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement envisages a comprehensive and modern trade arrangement that promises to “promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformation of the State Parties”. The attainment of sustainable development (which comprises social, economic and environmental dimensions), necessitates the pursuit of environmental sustainability. Despite this, environmental sustainability and climate change concerns have not featured prominently in the development of the AfCFTA. This Trade Report presents a case for why this should change by exploring the current extent of environmental references and considerations in the AfCFTA, outlining the relationship between trade and the environment in the African context, assessing the environment-trade commitments State Parties have made elsewhere, and discussing the significance of the AfCFTA as a framework for Africa’s (potentially green) industrialisation. A number of options for putting climate change on the AfCFTA agenda will be discussed, namely the addition of a Protocol on Climate Change/the Environment/Sustainable Development (hereafter referred to as a Protocol on Climate), a new institutional arrangement, and a stronger environmental focus in the AfCFTA’s national implementation process.

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