The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) was established in June 2003. The Centre, based within the ECA Headquarters in Addis Ababa, was initially set-up with the financial support of the Canadian Government through the Canada Fund for Africa. The Centre has also received support from UNDP and the Government of Denmark.
The main objective of the Centre since its establishment has been to strengthen the human and institutional capacities of African Governments to formulate and implement sound trade policies and participate more effectively in trade negotiations at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. This is also to be supported and facilitated by the involvement of other relevant stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society, and academia in research, training, information dissemination and advisory services to build consensus and achieve inclusive outcomes.
Some of the results achieved by ATPC thus far include:
- Enhanced African capacity to develop technical trade proposals;
- Increased understanding of the important role of trade in development;
- Increased coordination and harmonization of regional and sub-regional trade positions;
- Increased credibility and influence
- Promoting Regional Integration by working in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and African trade organizations to strengthen institutional capacity in managing trade processes and trade analysis.
Africa's continued development challenge and its desire to benefit from increased trade opportunities underscores the need for focused and continued efforts to support these aspirations. African countries are undertaking efforts to participate in global and regional trade negotiations to ensure that the trade rules adopted promote development and support their aspirations to increase their global market share. There is the recognition that regional integration and domestic action to build productive capacities are critical to success. The international community has provided support for Africa's efforts in this vital area including through ATPC.
Vision for ATPC
The vision envisaged for ATPC is to help African countries to be better able to use trade as an engine of development. Moreover, ATPC aims to empower African countries to set their trade agenda instead of being reactive or having it imposed on them from outside.
ATPC will help the African Union’s efforts to boost intra-Africa trade and establish a Continental Free Trade Area. It will also support member states and their regional organizations to better integrate trade into their development strategies especially through:
- the identification of policies to diversify production, build export supply capacities and adjust to the economic impact of trade liberalization;
- improving African negotiators' skills to better undertake and utilise impact analysis studies to obtain beneficial trade outcomes;
- improving the policy and regulatory capacities of the concerned RECs and their member states to meet the legislative and administrative requirements for complying with international trade rules and to benefit from their flexibilities;
- better integration of cross-cutting concerns relating to gender, environment and HIV/AIDS into trade policy.