EGM - The State of Urbanization in Africa
Cities: Gateways for Africa’s Regional Economic Integration
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 to Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Internationally agreed development Agendas recognize regional and international trade as a primary means for development and prosperity. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes it an engine for poverty reduction and economic growth, and as a primary vehicle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More specifically, SDGs call for a more open trade that benefits developing countries. Trade and regional integration is also prominently featuring in the Agenda 2063 “The Africa we want” in various ways. The Agenda advocates for infrastructural improvements to facilitate trade, formulation of a common commodities strategy, and the establishment of a single African air transport market. Of the World’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 33 are in Africa. It has been internationally recognized, through the Istanbul Programme of Action in 2011 that productive capacity and trade will be used as a vehicle to drive development in these states. The Agenda also calls for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aimed at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations. 54 of the 55 African Union Member States have now signed the AfCFTA Agreement and 30 Member States have ratified it. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019 and it has been indicated that the start of trading under the AfCFTA Agreement will begin on 1 January 2021. With this imminent date in mind, it is worth mentioning that many African countries have started developing their national AfCFTA strategies, and the Agreement is expected to provide a tool for stimulating African economies recoveries from COVID-19.

Provisional Agenda