Economic transformation is one of the main pillars of the African Union Agenda 2063. Increasing trade and investment in general and specifically amongst AU Member States is critical to achieve economic transformation and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) helps to achieve both goals.
Phase I of the negotiations finalised in late 2017 established protocols on the liberalisation of intra-African trade in goods and services as well as the Dispute Settlement Mechanism. Phase II, launched in early 2018 and to be concluded in early 2020, will be oriented towards including provisions on investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights. The increase of intra and extra-African investment in Africa is critical to developing and improving the productive capabilities required to raise productivity and create employment.
The Capacity building exercise aims to address the range of investment development and treaty challenges for the African Union and its Member States, as well as build the negotiating capacities of Member States and the AUC. It is important to have an adequate understanding of the links between the proliferation of bilateral investment treaties, exiting investment protocols within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the negotiations on investment in AfCFTA.
The investment capacity building training was conducted using Zoom virtual platform. The training took place over four days (16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th June) and saw the participation of over 190 participants from AU member states, regional economic communities (RECs) such as COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, SADC among others, and international partners such as AFDB and GFA. Participants were provided with training materials translated into Arabic, French and Portuguese to ensure good preparation prior to the event.
The training was facilitated by experts from ODI, AUC, African Trade Policy Centre – UNECA, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Columbia Centre on Sustainable Development (CCSI) and covered a range of topics relating to investment and the AfCFTA.
Photo: Opening ceremony of the online training, with officials from ODI, African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat. Overseas Development Institute.