Training Workshop on Trade in Services Negotiations for AU-CFTA Negotiators

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ Training Workshop on Trade in Services Negotiation–Training Workshop on Trade in Services Negotiation organized by the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission(AUC), in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) commenced today at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi. The workshop is held with the general objective to build the capacity of services negotiators in Africa to effectively benefit from trade in services opportunities at bi-lateral, regional and multilateral levels but most importantly to prepare for the CFTA negotiations on Services that were launched at the AU Summit in June 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Workshop will also provide a forum to share experiences of successful services exports and brain storm on a strategy for CFTA Services Negotiations .

Mr. Bonapas Onguglo, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD welcomed all the participants to the Training and express his gratituted and appreciation to the government of Kenya and the African Union Commission (AUC) for co-hosting this training workshop. UNCTAD is highly commited to providing capacity building to boost economic development through trade in Afica. Mr. Onguglo noted that services play a key role in this and encouraged participants to increase their economy’s competitiveness through mainstreaming services economy and trade, including in the CFTA context.

Mrs. Joyce Ogundo, Director of Economic and International Trade from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Kenya, delivered the Opening Statement on behalf Dr. Amb. Amina C. Mohammed, Cabinet secretary , Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In her statement, she welcomed participants to Kenya and thanked the organisers for choosing Kenya as a host of this workshop. She commended the AUC for the intitiative and thanked UNCTAD for the support in organizing this training which will provide an opportunity for developing a network of experts that will drive the services negotiations under the Continental Free Trade Area(CFTA). Ms. Ogundo recalled the two important June 2015 milestones namely; the Launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area and the launch of the CFTA Negotiations which she said ” have energized the Political impetus for the creation of the Africa Economic Community in line with the mandate of the 1991 Abuja Treaty” She noted that within the WTO Doha Round of Negotiations, trade in services is considered as one of the areas that could elicit consensus at the forthcoming WTO 10th Ministerial that will take place in Nairobi in December 2015″

In conclusion, she reiterated the commitment of Kenya towards the achievement of the CFTA and declared the Workshop Officially Open.

Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, Director of Trade and Industry , African Union Commission , extended her gratitude to the government of Kenya for hosting the workshop and commitment in supporting the private sector in service exports . She underscored that the timing of the Training Workshop stems from the mandate to negotatite a Continental Free Trade Area for Goods and Services by indicative date of 2017. She noted the need to “build the capacity of AU Member States to explore trade in services potential that lies within our continent ” . in this regards she commenced UNCTAD the Co-organizer of the workshop for their tremendous contribution to trade in services in the continent. She also recognized the collaboration between various AUC departments represented at the workshop including , Economic Affairs, Social Affairs, DREA ,HRST and DTI

Mrs. Maphanga noted that UNCTAD Economic Development Report 2015; focusing on Services potential for Africa, as yet another source of evidence and confirmation of the contribution of the Services sector to Africa’s economic growth potential. A competitive manufacturing and agricultural sectors is based on an efficient Services sector, to curb the costs of production and to participate in the regional and global value chains.

She concluded by emphasizing the objective of the workshop which is “to build the capacity of Services Negotiators in Africa to effectively benefit from trade in Services opportunities at bi-lateral, regional and multilateral levels but most importantly to prepare for the CFTA negotiations on Services which were launched in June 2015”. A similar training workshop for the French Speaking African Countries is scheduled to be held in October 2015 in Benin, as part of the initial capacity building initiatives for the CFTA negotiations.

Full speeches are available on: http://ti.au.int/en/

AUC, AU Member States, COMESA, SADC, IGAD and EAC, International organizations and UN agencies such as the WTO, TRALAC, EU, UNDP,ILEAP, UNCTAD and FAO , Regional and Representatives of the private sector , are attending this meeting .

SOURCE: African Union Commission (AUC)