Launch of the Human Rights Impact Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Dakar, Senegal

Date: 25 March, 2017

Venue: King Fahd Hotel, B05

Time: 10:00 – 11: 30


It is clear from analysis undertaken by ECA and a number of other institutions that the CFTA has the potential to transform the African economy, with benefits for the continent’s GDP and its industrial development. Yet experience tells us that, especially in Africa, proposals for blanket trade liberalization must be treated with caution. In addition, opposition from civil society and the public is being raised to trade agreements in many countries. Often the arguments raised are that these agreements benefit corporations at the expense of ordinary people and that they can cause destitution of vulnerable communities and environmental devastation.

It is against this backdrop that ECA, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung have conducted an ex-ante assessment of the CFTA’s impacts in three key policy areas: (a) food security (b) decent livelihoods and (c) employment. The assessment provides recommendations as to how to ensure that the CFTA advances and upholds these normative outcomes taking into account the policy frameworks provided by Agenda 2030 and 2063. This side event will present the findings of this assessment and the recommendations for the CFTA. The side event will be timely in view of the theme of the 2017 COM which focuses on employment and inequality and also in view of the fact that the negotiations of the CFTA are due to be completed by the end of 2017.


The side event will present and allow for discussion of the findings of this assessment and the recommendations for the CFTA. This will provide information to Member States about how they can ensure that the CFTA supports and advances the food security, decent livelihoods and employment.

Expected outcomes

  • The side event will help to deepen understanding of how to make the CFTA inclusive
  • The side event will provide specific policy recommendations for Member States as to how to ensure that the CFTA advances the human rights under consideration

Target audience

-          Officials of the ministries of finance, economic planning and industry

-          Civil society

-          Development partners and International Organizations that are supporting the CFTA negotiation process

For further information, please contact:

-          William Davis, Associate Economic Affairs Officer, ATPC/RITD, wdavis@uneca.org : Tel.: +251-11- 5443253