AfCFTA Secretary-General, Mr. Wamkele Mene, has been going around the continent talking to different groupings of women as part of steps leading up to the creation of a conference that focuses only on women traders, Ms. Grace Khoza, Principal Communications Advisor to the AfCFTA Secretariat has revealed.
The high-level conference, according to her, will be an official platform where the views and narratives of women will be heard and from which a clear protocol on women in trade will be formulated and applied under the AfCFTA.
She said: “We are not getting an academic sitting in an air-conditioned room somewhere to write this protocol or getting trade negotiators to do it because we truly want to understand the challenges they are facing.”
“We want the voices of the ordinary women, those who’ve been on the ground doing the work, to be heard. Let’s hear their stories so that the right protocol talks to and addresses those challenges,” Ms. Khoza added.
Commenting on the fair representation of women in the AfCFTA setup, she indicated that for the organization to be realistically relatable to its target market, it has to ensure that the people in whose purpose it serves are represented even at most strategic roles in the organization, especially for women.
“As women leaders of this organization, we are always mindful of what we can do best to help those that will come after us to excel or even do better. To be given the opportunity to be part of this critical institution is very important,” she added.
Responding to concerns about the seeming delay in meaning trading under the AfCFTA, Ms. Khoza said all was set for trading to start.
“We are ready; if you look at the agreement, there are expectations from all the role players. We have a mandate and a role to play in the policy and regulatory framework space to ensure that the right documentations are there for those seeking to take advantage of the agreement.
The E-Tariff book will soon be made available on our website soon; we want all other trade documentations to be part and parcel. We are working to get all relevant documents to go with the tariff book ready,” she indicated.