Women’s role in African trade liberalisation takes centre stage

The role of women in liberalising trade across the continent, overlooked by developments around Africa’s much talked-about Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), took centre stage earlier today at the bloc’s pre-launch proceedings in Niamey, capital of Niger.

Discussions around the role of women on the eve of the CFTA taking effect were led by Aïssata Issoufou Mahamadou, the spouse of Niger’s president and leader of the Organisation of African First Ladies for African Development (Oaflad).

The discussions were said to have focused around “honouring the past, challenging the present and creating the future”.

Establishing new partnerships and the value these can add to trade liberalisation also formed part of Oaflad’s deliberations.

And as African heads of state prepare for this weekend’s official launch of the CFTA, there is a growing call from leading circles that women should play a principal role in trade harmonisation for 54 of 55 countries that will form part of the bloc.

Eritrea is the only country that is still outside the CFTA.

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