Cotonou, Benin, April 28, 2023 - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, is supporting Benin in its drive to make the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) operational.
Through this support, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched Thursday in Cotonou the process of formulating a national AfCFTA strategy that will serve as a framework for its implementation.
This is a consultation workshop that brings together all economic and trade actors in Benin to develop the reference document.
The general objective of this meeting was to present the Agreement, in its content and socio-economic implications, to Beninese stakeholders. It was also to gather their views, aspirations and concerns regarding the opportunities and risks associated with the AfCFTA's implementation in the Republic of Benin.
It was also about raising awareness among these stakeholders and triggering a process of AfCFTA's ownership by stakeholders so that its implementation would be beneficial to all. This is why the strategy is inclusive and participatory.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the workshop, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Salami Amzath Bissiriou, said that "It is about constructing an economic zone where our country necessarily has a role to play, a stone to contribute to the consolidation of the common edifice.
According to Mr. Salami Amzath Bissiriou, Benin has begun the process of developing its AfCFTA national strategy to obtain a support that will be presented to all stakeholders to be validated. "After that, we will introduce it in the Council of Ministers for adoption and then send it to the National Assembly for ratification," concluded the Secretary General of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
As for the Country Coordinator of the United Nations System in Benin, Salvator Niyonzima, he recalled the benefits of this great inter-African market in relation to the objectives of the workshop. According to him, the reason for the presence of civil society organizations, executives from sectoral ministries and the private sector at this meeting is attributable to their willingness to engage in a dialogue that, in the near future, will lead to an AfCFTA strategy for Benin.
"The ultimate goal of the AfCFTA is to create a continent free of tariff and non-tariff barriers that can stimulate inter-African trade and investment, help local businesses grow, boost industrialization, and create jobs for Africa's growing youth," Mr. Salvator Niyonzima explained before inviting participants to get actively involved in the workshop’s works in order to offer a quality document to Benin with regard to the issues at stake.
The meeting, which took place in the form of plenary sessions and group works according to the focus group approach was attended by governmental actors, the private sector, including agricultural producers' organizations and those of civil society, namely women's associations, youth, consumers, unions, media, etc.
For further information, please contact: Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, ECA- SRO/WA Email : email@example.com,