The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung AU Cooperation Office (FES AU) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) held a virtual workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its implications on Peace and Security. The workshop was attended by approximately 40 participants from a range of organizations, NGO’s, think-tanks, and members from the academia. The workshop aimed to engage relevant stakeholders on the AfCFTA issue and explored the state of the negotiations regarding the AfCFTA. The workshop took place under the auspices of the ‘’Breakfast Seminar on Africa Economy’’, it is a comprehensive open discussion platform where issues pertinent to the African continent would be reflected.
The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area. It has the potential to unite 1.3 billion people, within a $2.5 trillion economic bloc. Ushering in a new era of development. The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and capital, and pave the way for creating a Customs Union. It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization across the continent. The AfCFTA is further expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
The breakfast seminar is part of an on-going discussion regarding the grand continental agreement. On the discussion, Mr. Emmanuel Bensah provided an extended explanation on what AfCFTA means for Africa and highlighted the current negotiations. In addition, he insisted the need to have an active CSO participation when it comes to domestication the agreement and emphasized the role of RECs. Dr. Eyob Balcha, a senior fellow at London School of Economics, also analyzed the importance gradual implementation and emphasized a more regional approach for the effective implementation of the agreement. During the program, participants voiced their opinion on the several aspects of the agreement and unanimous consensus reached to have a follow-up discussion on some particular aspect of the agreement.