AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat have signed a US$11.24 million institutional support grant agreement.

The Protocol of Agreement is an US$11.24 million support package meant to enhance the Secretariat’s effective implementation.

The AfCFTA Secretariat, currently in phase II of its implementation phase, will benefit from this support package, which is meant to boost sustainable intra-Africa trade and augment the number of participating African member states. The funds are intended to move the African trade integration agenda forward.

The grant, approved in July by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, will focus on three areas: institutional strengthening of the Secretariat; private sector support to implement the trade agreement; and support of climate-resilient regional and continental value chains to boost intra-Africa trade.

In addition, studies and initiatives will be undertaken to identify new business and economic opportunities for women, to help develop the AfCFTA Women and Youth in Trade Protocol, and to support capacity building and targeted business skills for women.

The signing took place on 25 July 2022, on the margins of the ninth meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for trade, held in Accra, Ghana.

Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat Wamkele Mene signed the agreement on behalf of his organisation, while African Development Group Bank Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Yacine Fal signed on behalf of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group.

Wamkele Mene said they welcomed the support of the Bank as this is a clear indication of their strategic partnership that will strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat and facilitate the start of commercially meaningful trade under the AfCFTA preferences.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the current geopolitical tensions have created an ethos of urgent collective action for the implementation of the AfCFTA. We all have a shared responsibility to change the destinies of all Africans as we achieve the laudable objective of the AfCFTA,” he added.

On his part, Fal said that the African Development Bank is proud of the strong partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat and confident that this institutional support will help supporttheir respective mandates to spur greater continental trade and economic transformation, in line with Agenda 2063’s vision of the Africa we want.

“Africa’s hope for building back strong and better lies with the successful implementation of the AfCTA.”

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