Gabon praises ECA’s skills enhancement programme for member states

Libreville, 30 April 2018 (ECA) - The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Annual workshop on International Economic Negotiations has been described as “remarkable and highly relevant for Africa” at a time when member states are seeking economic deals that can better serve national and continental interests. 

In his closing remarks at the 4th edition of the Workshop in Libreville on 27 April, Barthelemy Ngoulakia, Secretary General of Gabon’s Ministry of Trade and Industry lauded the ECA - on behalf of his government - for the  “remarkable initiative” that empowers African countries to negotiate better international economic deals. 

“In focusing this training on matters related to trade, taxation, investment and natural resources, you have basically covered the core areas in which our negotiators need solid skills,” added Mr. Ngoulakia.

The workshop, which took place under the theme, “Building Africa’s Negotiating Capacity for Improved Terms of Engagement with the Rest of the World,” was organized by ECA’s Capacity Development Division, (CDD) in partnership with the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP).

Martin Ndende, a CDD Senior Regional Adviser, thanked the 41 government officials from 27 African countries who participated in the workshop and who joint their voices in praising ECA for the initiative.

Mr. Ndende reminded them of the need for African negotiators to “learn to say ‘no’ when the deal doesn’t seem right, have a say on where and when negotiations should take place, and especially adopt the habit of going for negotiations with a team of experts.”

The ambassador of Mauritius to Ethiopia, Dharmraj Busgeeth, was one of the workshop participants who noted “it was very edifying even for us as diplomats because we’re always dealing with investors as well. The workshop was worth it. We had seasoned instructors guiding us throughout the course.”

For Martin Ayisi, a natural resources expert from Ghana,  “Most of the contracts we find across the continent were badly negotiated largely because we don’t have good negotiators. So this workshop provides opportunity for senior government officials to know how these things are done.”

Patrick Olomo,  the African Union representative at the workshop expressed hope that participants will make use of the skills acquired and end up with economic deals that are a win-win for their respective countries and for the continent at large. 

The workshop took place from 23 to 27 April in Libreville Gabon. Since its inception in 2015, the programme has trained over 180 government officials, mainly lead national negotiators, from all ECA member states.


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826