Abuja, 15 July 2021, ECA – A two-day sensitization workshop for women in business in West Africa on the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has ended in Abuja with more than 100 women’s groups and business women from across the country and neighbouring countries in attendance.
The hybrid event which opened yesterday, with the technical support of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the financial support of the European Union (EU), was organized by the Federation of West African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCHI) and hosted by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
Speaking at the opening, ECA’s Senior Adviser Adeyinka Adeyemi, urged participants to take advantage of the huge integrated market of over 1.2 billion people to grow their businesses, expand their export potentials, create jobs and increase their profit.
“The AfCFTA gives preferential access to African markets worth $504 billion in goods and $162 billion in services,” he said.
To take advantage of the opportunities, he said Nigerian women should access funding through schemes promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Real Sector support Facility, Export Stimulation Scheme, and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme.
FEWACCI’s Treasurer and First Deputy President of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mining and Agriculture, Dele Oye, commended the ECA and the EU for their support in making the event possible.
The main speakers included Nadia Hashim, an ECA trade expert, Jonathan Aremu, a consultant for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Amany Asfour of the African Business Council (AFBC), and Rose Nwosu, Vice President of the ACCI.
Trading under the AfCFTA commenced on 1 January this year. The bloc is set to create the biggest free trade area in the world and has immense opportunities for increasing intra-regional trade, enhancing production, promoting economies of scale, creating jobs, raising incomes and improving the standard of living of the African people.
The ECA through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) has been working with the African Union (AU) to deepen Africa’s trade integration through the effective implementation of the agreement by supporting the AfCFTA ratification process through policy advocacy. The ECA is also assisting the member-states to develop national strategies for the implementation of the AfCFTA in partnership with the AUC, International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts with the financial support of the EU.
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