Working towards regional integration
In 2018, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was signed and established, following on the decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and to endorse the Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) Action Plan in 2012. The architecture of the AfCFTA includes, among others, an African Trade Observatory (ATO). With the entry into force of the AfCFTA on May 30, 2019 the ATO becomes crucial as it will provide updated and reliable data to inform business and policy decisions and to monitor the implementation process of the AfCFTA and its impact.
The ObservatoryThe Observatory is a system that strengthens trade information across the continent in four dimensions:1) Monitoring of regional integration, competitiveness, market access, border procedures and the usage of trade preferences in Africa.2) Equipping national government staff to sustain quality trade data.3) Training policymakers and businesspeople to analyse and use the trade data.4) Creating an online portal, offering a database of trade information and a tool for policymakers to negotiate and monitor tariff removal. As of December 2019, 13 countries have requested to participate in the pilot phase of the project. In 2019, the ATO project and its activities were presented to the more than 100 policymakers, high-level officials and relevant stakeholders in national workshops and at a technical workshop held on the 9th December 2019 in Addis Ababa to which all 13 pilot countries participated.The Observatory will be the source of real-time African trade and market information – spanning countries, products and markets – all in one place. Visit the website here: ato.africa
For more information, please contact ATO@africa-union.org