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EABC partners Afreximbank to maximize business opportunities for women in South Sudan                                                                           

 The East African Business Council (EABC) has partnered with AfricaN Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to help South Sudanese women maximize business opportunities under the established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Geoffrey Kimanzi, the Policy Manager of Trade in Services for the East African Business Council said they are focused on getting women and youth to engage effectively in the AfCFTA’s implementation.

He said during sensitization workshop held in Juba on Thursday to raise awareness on the AfCFTA for the private sector including Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and women in business.                                                                                        

Kimanzi said that for women and youth to benefit from AfCFTA, governments, regional and continental institutions and development partners have to support the initiative. 

“To harness the benefits of the AfCFTA, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and governments are critical in the process of eliminating Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs) and should take the lead in the harmonization of policies and legal frameworks to facilitate cross-border trade,” he said.

However, he said for this to succeed it requires strong political will and the creation of a favorable trade and investment environment for these efforts to bear fruit.        

Stephen Doctor, the Director General of External Trade in the National Ministry of Trade and Industry, said locals SMEs need to be prepared to start mass production and value addition to ensure production surplus for the continent.

He also urged the local SMEs to work on professionalizing their business systems to ease connection to the continental markets.

“It is therefore, important to ensure that this large segment of the population is kept aware of these regional and continental trade dynamics, to ensure that they easily connect with their counterparts across the continent,” Doctor said.                                             

Angelo Ladu, the General Manager for South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry said policy makers need to allow for improved and mass volume of cross border trade.                                                                                      

“It is expected that the political will in facilitating the implementation of the AfCTA will increase investments on the continent and the Republic of South Sudan is a potential beneficiary if the private sector is well prepared to take advantage of the benefits expected from the AfCFTA,” said Ladu.

AfCFTA represents 1.3 billion people and is expected to increase to 1.7 billion people by 2030 out of which about 600 million will be in the middle class.     

 The agreement is expected to contribute to a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion and consumer spending of close to 4 trillion U.S dollars.                                                                                                                                       

 It is also expected that due to the effective and efficient implementation of the AfCFTA, 20 million people will be lifted out of extreme poverty and 60 million people out of moderate poverty by 2035.

 The African Continental Free Trade Area is a free trade area encompassing most of Africa.

 It was established in 2018 by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area by number of member states, after the World Trade Organization (WTO).                        

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