Addis Ababa, 28 May 2021, ECA – The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) held the first Steering Committee Meeting (SCM) of its fourth programme cycle in Dakar, Senegal, from 26 to 27 May 2021. The hybrid event was hosted by ECA’s African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) and preceded by a Partners Meeting that was held on 25 May 2021.
As recently announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada awarded funding of CAN$15.2 million to ATPC to cover its fourth programme cycle that runs from 2021 to 2025. This was the first meeting under the new project, titled “Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost intra-African trade”.
At the opening of the event, Khadija Jarik, Vice-Chairperson of the Steering Committee and representative of Global Affairs Canada in Addis Ababa, expressed Canada’s unwavering commitment to ATPC, which it supported from its establishment in 2003. Ms Jarik observed that, through its support to ATPC, Canada hopes the current phase of the project will help African countries put in place domestic reforms necessary to effectively implement their AfCFTA commitments. She also expressed satisfaction that the new programme cycle has introduced an environment workstream under which the ATPC carries out a strategic environment assessment in supporting implementation of the AfCFTA.
David Luke, coordinator of ATPC, emphasised the importance of the annual SCM, which is an integral part of the ATPC’s governance framework where its workplan and annual budget are presented to stakeholders, whose feedback has always formed an important source of input for ATPC. During the meeting, the ATPC team presented the performance report for 2020, explained how the Centre implemented SCM recommendations from the previous meeting of February 2020, as well as the workplan and associated budget for 2021.
Speaking at the opening of the SCM, Stephen Karingi, Director of the Regional Integration Division of the ECA, conveyed the message of the Executive Secretary, Ms. Vera Songwe, who expressed her gratitude for Canada’s support to ECA’s work in the field of trade through the ATPC. Mr Karingi emphasised the critical role of evidence-based policy-making for the success of the continent on which “ATPC has been a trailblazer” in enabling that Africa’s decisions on trade are supported by evidence-based research.
Karima Bounemra, Director of the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), warmly welcomed all participants and encouraged the continued partnership of ATPC through research and training.
Silver Ojako, Chief of Staff of the AfCFTA Secretariat, during the opening session, expressed his wish for ATPC to incorporate the priorities of the Secretariat in its work plan in order to be able to work together in the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.
The SCM which was attended by the African Union Commission, AfCFTA Secretariat, RECs, Afreximbank, Private Sector, Academia, Pan African Institutions and Development Partners concluded with very constructive recommendations on ATPC’s research work, budget and partnerships among others.
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