Localise information on AfCFTA through appropriate channels

Rose Ronoh, African Trade and Gender Economist

Implementers of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) have been advised to domesticate the information on the agreement, and make it more accessible by every citizen on the continent of Africa for their participation and effective implementation of the agreement.

Gradually, most African countries who have deposited their instruments of ratification on the AfCFTA and submitted their tariff concessions are launching their various National AfCFTA implementation frameworks and strategic plans, with Ghana and Kenya being two (2) of such countries.

However, international trade experts are urging the implementers of the continental trade policy agreement to ensure that their monitoring and evaluation frameworks in those strategic plans are sensitive to inclusivity regarding information dissemination to all citizenry on the continent.

African Trade and Gender Economist, Rose Ronoh, advised governments at the 2022 annual tralac conference to make their various national frameworks as well as the regional and continental ones bridge the linkages between gender and age inclusiveness, and the AfCFTA.

“So that in the next 5 years, we should have gender metrix to measure and say that as a result of the AfCFTA, we have been able to make such amount of progress.” She stressed.

She emphasised that communication is key, and particularly, communicating to the right audience at the right time and at the right place through the appropriate medium must be the focus of implementers of the AfCFTA.

Rose Ronoh speaking to a section of participants at the 2022 tralac Alumni Conference

Rose Ronoh explained that more women across Africa still do not know about the AfCFTA and its benefits to them; and since women, like other genders, consume information differently, it is vital to identify the right channels to inform women on the benefits of the AfCFTA which will then ensure effective participation in the continental trading agreement by women.

“So, in our communication of the AfCFTA, we should identify the channels such genders consume information. For example, advertising information on AfCFTA in a primetime news at 7pm in Kenya. What will a woman be doing at this time? She is probably cooking or preparing children to go to bed. So, if you put an advert there and you say these are AfCFTA opportunities so they need to take advantage of it, you miss out on majority of women. But if you go to the women group in churches and meet the women after church services to talk to them about opportunities of AfCFTA for women, this will be effective because in Kenya, most women go to church, and are in women groups and associations. So, we need to come down and communicate to different genders using the right channels.” The Trade and Gender Economist advised.

She also cited that: “In the case of the men, maybe you need to meet them after their football games or at the clubs and discos just as the Ministry of Health in Kenya did during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking vaccinations to discos”.

For Rose Ronoh, communicating opportunities under AfCFTA must be localised to the needs of the gender-specific groups of Africans if we need to practically feel their inclusiveness and participation in the all-important continental trade policy.

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