Addis Ababa, January 30, 2019 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for African (ECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have teamed up to help develop the services trade in Africa by promoting integration into regional value chains.
The two UN entities agree that integration into higher value-added activities of global and regional value chains is crucial for development outcomes for the continent and will go a long way in helping the continent realize its targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a joint project, UNCTAD and UNECA are providing support to member States to strengthen the capacities of national and regional policymakers and stakeholders to measure and analyze value chains and design services policies aimed at enabling higher integration into global and regional value chains.
Komi Tsowou of the ECA said currently six countries have been targeted - Kenya, Ethiopia, Gambia, Mali, Togo and Nigeria – for the project.
The two UN entities are holding a three-day seminar in Addis Ababa to support capacity building in carrying out value chain analysis.
“Upon completion of this seminar, the expectation is that its participants are capacitated to develop capacities of national or regional policymakers and other stakeholders in their respective countries to conduct value chain analysis and formulate sectoral policies for better integration into regional value chains of services,” said Mr. Tsowou, an Economic Affairs Officer with the ECA.
The seminar will provide a platform to learn and discuss various methodological approaches to measure a country’s participation into regional and global value chains of goods and services.
In opening remarks to the seminar, ECA’s Director for Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) Stephen Karingi, said regional integration is a priority for Africa and ‘in ECA we remain committed to advancing regional integration in all its forms’.
He said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) holds much promise in terms of supporting Africa’s development, and is aligned with aspirations of the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in the Agenda 2063.
“However, turning this vision into a reality has proved to be challenging, especially when it comes to services trade. One of the main stumbling blocks to the implementation of trade services-related policies in many countries, is the lack of understanding and quantification of services trade, and more generally the role services play in regional and global value chains,” said Mr. Karingi hence the joint ECA-UNCTAD project.
He said the project will stimulate knowledge sharing across countries and lessons learned and best practices identified will be disseminated through Regional Economic Communities and an online knowledge sharing platform.
For her part; UNCTA’s Claudia Roethlisberger said: “To reap real benefits from today’s international trade, countries must integrate into value chains and build their services sectors to participate in segments with higher value added. This will critically increase their ability for income generation, boost their development outcomes and contribute to realizing the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“A key component for services development is to actually know how much the services economy generates, and what role domestic and or foreign firms play. In many countries, this information is not or only very partially available. With this project, we will have the opportunity to measure the contribution of selected services value chains and help design policies in support of national services objectives.”
The project targets three services sectors that are critical for enabling trade and fostering inclusiveness, in particular in relation to women and youth, namely: infrastructure services (transport and energy), financial services and tourism services.
The project offers;
•Train-the-trainers seminars on measuring and analyzing global and regional value chains
•Analysis of selected regional value chains
•Multi-stakeholder workshop to share experiences of value chain analysis
•Contribution to evidence-based services trade policies
•Online knowledge-sharing platform on regional value chain analysis
•Guidebook on the experiences, lessons learned and best practices of services value chain analysis
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Tel: +251 11 551 5826