SESRIC and ITFC launched a joint report titled ‘Potential Economic Impacts of the AfCFTA on Selected OIC Countries’
Date: 12 July 2021
Venue: Virtual-SESRIC, Ankara - Türkiye

SESRIC and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, launched on 12 July 2021 a technical report investigating the potential impacts of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on selected OIC countries, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique, Tunisia and Uganda.

To shed light on the important findings of this report, a virtual event was organised with the participation of Mr. Nebil Dabur, Director General of SESRIC; Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC; Mrs. Ngone Diop, Director of UNECA - Sub-regional Office West Africa; Mr. Saliou Sow, AfCFTA Chief Negotiator for Guinea; Mrs. Astou SY, Deputy AfCFTA Chief Negotiator for Senegal and Mr. Chaouki Jaballi, Director of Cooperation with Arab countries and African Union at the Ministry of Cooperation in Tunisia.

The launching event unveiled the key findings of the report, covering important topics including facilitating investments in productive capacities to differentiate products and strengthening the competitiveness of domestic enterprises. In addition, the webinar also highlighted the need for facilitating the capacity building and knowledge sharing, create regional value chains and support smart infrastructure investment projects to improve connectivity and allow for smoother movement of goods and people while protecting vulnerable segments of societies to achieve more balanced growth.

In his opening remarks, Mr Nebil Dabur, Director General of SESRIC, stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area is a critical milestone in enhancing economic cooperation and integration among the African countries. For partner countries to take advantage of opportunities and address challenges associated with this path-breaking initiative, appropriate policies, tools and resources will be required to effectively implement it. He noted that the SESRIC-ITFC partnership serves exactly this purpose and SESRIC looks forward to proceed with the next two research reports in this important series.

On the other hand, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, stated that the AfCFTA is a great opportunity for Africa to integrate more and create transnational value that can be reflected in the socio-economic growth of the continent. ITFC is committed to supporting OIC members to make the most of the agreement not only to boost trade but to create sustainable jobs, enhance international cooperation and expand local industries, which are all crucial for the continental and global post-COVID economies. He further stressed that ITFC will keep investing in programmes such as the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program and the ITFC-IsDB AfCFTA Initiative to promote intra-African and intra-OIC trade.

The AfCFTA became operational on 1 January 2021 with the ratification of 34 African Union (AU) member states, which later increased to 37 as of July 2021. It is a major step towards boosting regional trade and economic integration among the African countries. It will facilitate, harmonize and better coordinate trade regimes and eliminate challenges related to overlapping trade agreements across the continent. The expected gains are not to be limited to international trade only. The agreement would support greater economic integration, foster competitiveness of the domestic industries, facilitate better allocation of resources and help to attract greater foreign direct investments.

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