African Union Trade Observatory:To help Africa harness its economic potential.

The African Union Commission together with the European Commission and the International Trade Centre have set up the African Union Trade Observatory, a key pillar of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA.

Chief Executive Officers of Regional Economic Communities and other partners attended this event.

The Observatory will provide entrepreneurs, policymakers and other key stakeholders with up-to-date, reliable trade data and statistics across the continent.

The Observatory will enable them to identify market opportunities and will facilitate the effective monitoring of the implementation of the agreement once it enters into force. Data and analyses will be available through a web-based platform.

H.E. Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, the African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said: ‘In an era where everything revolves around data and information and where data has become the new oil, I would like to appeal to other partners, private or public, to join us in building a robust AU Trade Observatory.

This will enable African policymakers and the African private sector to make data-driven and evidenced-based trade and trade-related policies and decisions and to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area.’

Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, said: ‘Data is the new gold.

The future success of countries is premised on how well they use data to make strategic decisions, craft evidence-based policies and transform it into intelligence for the small and medium-sized companies that make up the vast expanse of the trade and business ecosystem.

We thank the African Union for the confidence it has placed in us to deliver the Trade Observatory, and we thank the European Union for its support. We look forward to this being an integral tool as the continent moves to closer integration.’

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: ‘The new African Union Trade Observatory is another step towards the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will help the continent harness its economic potential.

It will provide the African Union, the African countries and the private sector with data and statistics that are essential for the sound monitoring of continental trade and evidence-based policymaking.

Our support of €4 million to this Observatory is another example of the Africa-Europe Alliance in motion.’

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Secretary-General Chileshe Kapwepwe, on behalf of the African regional economic communities, said: ‘We play a fundamental role as implementing partners of the African Continental Free Trade Area, represented in the Committee of Senior Trade Officials.

Our organization already collects data that could be fed into the Trade Observatory and aims to coordinate actions to resolve non-tariff barriers, harmonize standards and monitor practices at sub-regional and national levels.’

The African Continental Free Trade Area is one of the flagship projects of Africa´s Agenda 2063 and one of the key priorities for the continent.

It aims at providing a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments.

Its goal is to boost intra-African trade from an existing level of about 13% to 25% or more over the next decade by promoting regional value chains, supporting industrialization and attracting investment from both within Africa and the rest of the world to help the continent enhance economic growth and achieve structural transformation.

About the International Trade Centre

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

About the African Union Commission and its Department for Trade and Industry

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI is one of the portfolios of the African Union Commission that contributes to make Africa a more integrated trading bloc and a significant and competitive trading partner in the global economy.

DTI coordinates the agenda of the AU Commission in relation to trade, industry, customs and minerals and oversees the development, implementation and monitoring of the relevant policies and strategies, including the Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT Action Plan and establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA, AIDA, the African Mining Vision, the AU SMEs Strategy.

The Department is coordinating AfCFTA negotiations and will act as Interim Secretariat until the establishment of a functioning AfCFTA Secretariat.