Happy shoppers at the #GhanaExpoinKE - May 2023

Making the AfCFTA promise a reality for women and youth

UNDP has been providing support to the implementation of the AfCFTA at national, regional and continental levels. This support includes direct support to countries, training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), creating links between SMEs in different regions, research, and support for the development of trade-enabling technologies.

On 29 March 2021, the AfCFTA Secretariat and UNDP signed a strategic partnership to promote trade as a stimulus for Africa’s socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and as a driver of sustainable development particularly for women and youth in Africa, in line with the SDGs and Agenda 2063 common vison for the continent.

About the AfCFTA

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - the world’s largest free-trade area - started trading on 1 January 2021, creating a market of 1.2 billion people and the eighth economic bloc in the world with a $3-trillion combined GDP, that is expected to more than double by 2050.

But the AfCFTA represents much more. On the one hand, it is a significant milestone on the journey to African integration and development. On the other hand, it is a catalyst for new ways of doing business, producing, working and trading within Africa and with the rest of the world.

The AfCFTA will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world and make intra-Africa trade (trade between African countries) easier by achieving several important inter-related objectives as follows: 

  1. Create a single African market for goods and services. This means most trade barriers will be removed and common policies will be put in place to ease the movement of goods, also money, people, businesses and services
  2. Make it easier for businesses, especially small businesses, to trade
  3. Remove non-tariŠ barriers i.e. measures that make trade between African countries di‹cult, such as customs delays
  4. Build African expertise in the areas of intellectual property rights, investment, competition and e-commerce
  5. Lower taxes and tariŠs between member countries 6. Help develop policies that facilitate trade and related services, such as the building of roads and easier access to ports.