Covid-19 has shed light on the fragility of Africa’s supply chains, highlighting the urgency to develop more resilient and sustainable regional value chains that can withstand future climate change shocks and respond to growing demand for green goods and services. In building back better, Africa can take strategic advantage of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to advance the green transition.
The AfCFTA intersects the green agenda through specific provisions in its protocols, and the strategies adopted to drive implementation. Integrating environmental considerations within the AfCFTA can also offer an opportunity to develop common African environmental sustainability priorities at multilateral fora, including the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) and World Trade Organization (WTO).
In this context, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TESS held a session on “Building resilient and sustainable regional and global value chains through the AfCFTA” during the WTO Public Forum 2021 “Trade Beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience.”
The session addressed the following questions:
- What actions are required by African policymakers and businesses to fully harness the AfCFTA to further the green transition?
- How can the AfCFTA be implemented in a way that supports the wider adoption of environmental standards throughout African economies?
- How can the AfCFTA be utilized to develop a common African position on trade and environmental sustainability to help secure the continent’s trade and climate interests in other fora, including at the multilateral level?
- Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, UNECA
- H.E. Mrs. Usha Chandnee Dwaraka-Canabady, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva
- Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, Principal Research Fellow, ODI
- Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General at African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)
- Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director, Economy Divison, UNEP
Building Resilient and Sustainable Regional and Global Value Chains through the AfCFTA
You can view this video of the webinar on building resilient and sustainable regional value chains in Africa here.