SheTrades: Empowering Women in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Signatories to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) have made a clear commitment to gender equality as one of the AfCFTA objectives (Art 3 of the Framework Agreement). The AfCFTA spans 55 countries, with a population of over 1 billion people and a cumulative GDP of more than US$3.4 trillion. Given its potential to foster regional value chains and its ambition to encompass goods, services, intellectual property, competition and investment, it is critical that gender is mainstreamed from a very early stage, to ensure that women are well positioned to seize opportunities in regional trade. Moreover, gender should be mainstreamed coherently in regional development programmes supporting the AfCFTA, such as the Boosting Intra-African Trade Action Plan which aims to catalyse much needed investment, capacity building, and Aid for Trade.
The project SheTrades: Empowering Women in the African Continental Free Trade Area, jointly implemented with the African Union Commission, aims to empower women-owned businesses to benefit from trade opportunities created by the AfCFTA. The project will help to design a more inclusive AfCFTA by providing women business associations and policy-makers with capacity building and advocacy support, and bringing them together for policy dialogues. The project contributes to the Empowering Women to Trade Programme ToC, by focusing on awareness, knowledge and consensus for the design and implementation of inclusive trade policies.