ECA, Afreximbank Develop Digital Platform to Secure Trade in Africa

ECA, Afreximbank Develop Digital Platform to Secure Trade in Africa

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Afreximbank have developed a digital business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) African Trade Exchange Platform (ATEX) to secure trade in Africa.

In a statement issued by the Communications Section, ECA, the development of the platform was also done with the African Union and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

The platform provides a safe and secure digital marketplace for grouping together resources in Africa’s trade demand, as well as a one-point transparent and competitive access to essential supplies.

Mr Stephen Karingi, ECA Director for Regional Integration and Trade Division, was speaking at a session on integrating regional trade during the regional consultation on Jan. 17 in Addis Ababa.

The consultation was on LDC5 for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Africa and Haiti. Karingi spoke on the importance of trade within the LDCs, of which 33 are in Africa.

According to ECA, over the past five years, about 80 per cent of exports from African LDCs were intended for extra African countries. Meanwhile, about 79 per cent of African LDCs imports were sourced from outside of the continent.

“Mirroring Africa more broadly, the LDC’s largely import manufactured products and export goods low along critical value chains like fuel products, ores and metals, and food items”, he said.

The director spoke on the current trade patterns to have exposed African LDCs to commodity price volatilities and global shocks. He, however, said the ATEX platform developed digitally enabled the trade of the main agricultural commodities and inputs imported by the continent from Russia and Ukraine.

The agricultural commodities include cereals, fertiliser and associated inputs, oils, oilseed, other products and inputs that support agricultural value chains. >>>Ghana Extends Debt Exchange Deadline Again

“The impact of the AfCFTA on intra-African trade is likely to be much higher as the above estimates don’t consider informal cross-border trade which is prevalent in most African LDCs.

“African LDCs are extremely vulnerable to global shocks due to their current trading patterns and the AfCFTA will be instrumental in cushioning African LDCs from external shocks and bolstering the industrialisation of these countries”, he said.

Karingi also said while the AfCFTA was expected to impact countries differently, based on their existing comparative advantages, all African countries would benefit.

Furthermore, he noted that women face constraints to participation in trade, including access to assets, finance, markets, information, networks, skills, standards, tech, and security at borders.

The director, however, said inclusive complementary policies were necessary for national and regional AfCFTA implementation.

In line with this, the African Union Assembly decided to include the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade in the scope of the AfCFTA Agreement.

According to the statement, ECA also ensures that gender policy is mainstreamed in the national AfCFTA implementation strategies. Meanwhile, ECA is also helping African countries, many of which are LDCs, in developing their national AfCFTA implementation strategies.

Furthermore, ECA has conducted research with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and gathered data on Digital Services Trade Restrictions across African countries.

Of 28 countries with data, ECA has collected data on 17 LDCs which shows different trade restrictions across African countries. # ECA, Afreximbank Develop Digital Platform to Secure Trade in Africa

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