Lusaka, Zambia, 16 September 2019 (MCTI, AUC & ECA) – The Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the Economic Commission for Africa’s Office for Southern Africa (ECA-SA), the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) and the financial support of the European Union (EU) are organizing a meeting to validate Zambia’s Strategy for the Implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement from 25 - 26 September 2019, at Radisson Blu in Lusaka, Zambia.
This follows a consultative workshop on AfCFTA organized in May 2019 and extensive in-depth stakeholder consultations held between April and August 2019 leading to the production of a draft national strategy in August 2019. The AfCFTA Strategy Validation Workshop will review and finalize the strategy and its implementation plan.
The overall objectives of the two-day workshop are to review the draft national AfCFTA strategy and implementation plan in terms of the content, the objectives, proposed actions and the implementation framework to address any gaps, correct any misrepresentations and align any inconsistencies and thereby provide recommendations to improve the national strategy and implementation framework. The workshop will also review the proposed Terms of Reference for the National AfCFTA Committee on the AfCFTA to ensure the terms provide a solid foundation for the required leadership in the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement in Zambia.
The Validation meeting will be preceded by a one day capacity building and sensitization workshop for the media. The media is critical in helping all stakeholders, including the private sector, cross border traders, governments and vulnerable groups across Zambia and the general citizenry understand and appreciate the benefits and challenges associated with the AfCFTA implementation. Enhanced understanding of the AfCFTA Agreement is cardinal as it will enable media practitioners to report competently on issues such as the impact of the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, the fragmentation of African markets and the needed support to create a conducive business environment to support industry to competitively participate in the larger African market. Furthermore, the media also plays a major role in ensuring that the information on the AfCFTA is disseminated to the public accurately for informed decision making. Thus, the trained journalists will be the key drivers of the communication of the strategy through various tools and channels.
The validation meeting will be attended by representatives of the private sector, civil society, academia and associations of women in business and government institutions. The umbrella private sector business organizations to attend the meeting will, among others, include; Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zambia Association of Manufacturers, Grain Traders Association, Tobacco Producers Association, Cotton Growers/Ginners Association, Women Miners Association, Cross Border Traders Association, COMESA Business Council, and SADC Business Council. The Government will be represented by Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry and representatives of parastatals and ministries and the Bank of Zambia.
The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.