The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has said that the full implementation of the free trade area will increase the value of intra-Africa trade to $195 billion by 2045. The ECA’s Principal Regional Advisor for Regional Integration and Trade Division, Brendah Phiri-Mundia stated this during the 14th African Congress for Women Entrepreneurs and 4th COMESA Federation of Women in Business Forum held at Addis Ababa.
She said women and youth, have revolutionized entrepreneurship in Africa and they are better positioned to boost trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This year congress’s is themed “Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Promotion for Women and Youth and Support of MSMEs for realizing AfCFTA and Regional Integration in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Phiri-Mundia advocated for inclusive policies to support women and youth entrepreneurs to quicken trade development in Africa, noting that the congress took Cognizant of progress on tackling challenges in accessing economic opportunities faced by women and youth across the African continent.
The ECA’s 2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report estimates that reducing gender inequality will boost African economies by $316 billion, and ECA has recognized the potential of women and the youth in business development by providing support to Member States across the continent.
She further said it would develop a coherent approach to measuring the impact of trade on gender equality using official statistics and building on the existing statistical data and capacity of countries. She then called for collective action to amplify collaboration in initiatives that address multiple barriers faced by women and youth.