What: African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and UN Development Programme
(UNDP) announce partnership to support world’s largest free-trade area towards Agenda 2063 and SDG's
When: Monday 29 March,
Time :11:30am New York
18:30hr Addis Ababa
- H.E. Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
- Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa.
- H.E. Fatma Mohamed Kyari, African Union Ambassador, Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union in New York.
Where: UN Headquarters and online. Registration link:
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free-trade area, started trading on 1 January 2021, creating a market of 1.2 billion people, the eighth economic bloc in the world with a $3-trillion combined GDP. The AfCFTA Secretariat and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are announcing a partnership, through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, to promote trade as a stimulus for Africa’s socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and as a driver of sustainable development particularly for women and youth.
The partnership will leverage UNDP’s presence in all African countries, working in close collaboration with other UN entities, to address inequalities, promote value addition and create jobs by targeting critical hurdles faced in exporting within Africa such as SME export competitiveness; rules of origin; technical and product safety standards. It will also enhance AfCFTA advocacy among policy makers, business, civil society, academia, youth and other
The partnership signing is part of a two-day official visit to New York by the AfCFTA Secretariat Secretary General. Since its launch, the AfCFTA has been ratified by 70% of countries, and already possesses 90% of tariff offers and 34 services offers, which enables sound business and investment decisions in intra-African trade, strengthening accelerated action for trade as a means of implementation for the Africa We Want, and for the SDGs.
While in New York, the Secretary General will meet with groups of investors, including from the African diaspora, under the auspices of the Office of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Development and International Cooperation (OHBCUD) and meet with other senior UN officials.
Note to editors
Trading under the AfCFTA started in earnest on 1 January 2021, following a five-and-half-year period since negotiations were launched on 15 June 2015. Tough negotiations were followed by signing of the Agreement on 21 March 2018, entry into force on 30 May 2019 and start of trading on 1 January 2021. UNDP is the first strategic partner for the implementation phase of the Agreement.
The Memorandum of Understanding has been carefully designed following comprehensive consultations based on a shared vision of the future of the continent, and is an expression of the strong commitment to see the AfCFTA becoming an engine for Africa’s sustainable economic development.
Join the conversation @AfCFTA, @UNDPAfrica and #OneAfricanMarket
For more information on the AfCFTA please contact: Jemila Abdel Vetah
For more information on the Partnership with UNDP, please contact: Joy Kategekwa