The SRCM-ESA will be held under the theme: “Promoting Industrialization through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): The Role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) in Eastern and Southern Africa”. The meeting will bring together delegates from stakeholder organizations/institutions of the SRCM for Eastern and Southern Africa including the African Union and NEPAD, regional economic communities (RECs) namely COMESA, EAC, IGAD and SADC; Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs); the Regional United Nations Sustainable Development Group for Eastern and Southern Africa (R-UNSDG-ESA); UN Agencies and other development partners. The overall aim of the meeting is to promote dialogue and collaboration of the UN system in support of RECs and IGOs in facilitating the goal of industrialization, trade and the AfCFTA, through the SRCM. Hence, strengthening the SRCM as a major platform for UN system -wide support to the RECs and IGOs in Eastern and Southern Africa towards attaining agendas 2030 and 2063.
Specifically, the meeting will seek to, among others: (i) promote better understanding, increased knowledge and collaboration between the UN system and the RECs and IGOs on the issue of industrialization, trade and the AfCFTA; (ii) identify key areas of existing and proposed work of UN agencies in different aspects of industrialization and the AfCFTA, and promote increased collaboration from those areas in support of the RECs and IGOs; (iii) provide a platform for the RECs and IGOs to articulate their key priority areas on the issue of industrialization, trade and the AfCFTA and how they seek to promote regional interests in the implementation of the AfCFTA; (iv) facilitate informed discussion on how the AfCFTA will provide key aspects of agendas 2030 and 2063 including industrialization, employment, women’s entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the blue economy, tourism, food and nutrition security, migration, free movement of persons, human rights etc.; and (v) dialogue and agree on a joint work plan based on key priorities of RECs/IGOs in support of AfCFTA, gender and AfCFTA, industrialization and promoting social and economic development in Eastern and Southern Africa.