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African leaders have approved that trading should start on 1 January next year as scheduled on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and requested African financial institutions to provide technical and financial support for its implementation.


“We call on women, youth, businesses, trade unions, civil society, cross border traders, the academia, the African Diaspora and other stakeholders to join us as governments in this historic endeavour of creating the Africa we want in line with the African Union Agenda 2063,” the leaders said in a declaration at the end of their 13th extraordinary summit of the member-states held virtually.


The leaders re-affirmed their resolve to deepen continental integration through the AfCFTA and commended the contribution of the African Ministers of Trade for the preparations toward the launch of trading on 1 January 2021.

Speaking while opening the meeting, the African Union Chairperson and South Africa’s President Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa said the commencement of trading would be one of the “most StanChart launches a ‘Women in Technology’ incubator programme African Union approves January 1 for commencement of trading under AfCFTA commitment to excellence is distinctively complimentary to Standard Chartered Bank’s values and brand promise Here for good. We look forward to all that will be accomplished through this initiative, including redefining entrepreneurship” Mrs. Nettey added.


Ms. Olga Arara-Kimani, Regional Head Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing, Standard Chartered Africa & Middle East said about launching Women In Technology in Ghana: “We have found that female techpreneurs face significant obstacles and structural inequalities in preventing them to scale their businesses, including financing and mentorship. With a thriving start-up scene, internet expressed gratitude to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for providing technical support to the continental initiative.


In his own speech, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Wamkele Mene pledged to work with the ECA and the UN development Programme to prepare the AU Protocol on Women in Trade, saying that for AfCFTA to be inclusive and to ensure shared growth across the continent, women , young Africans and SMEs have to be at the heart of its implementation. Such a protocol will build upon the AfCFTA Framework Agreement that recognizes and the Women Entrepreneurs Transformation Programme.

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