THE East African Business Council (EABC), in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has launched a sensitisation workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and women in business in Burundi.
The goal is to equip SMEs with the skills to effectively capitalise on the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.
Speaking at the EABC-Afreximbank AfCFTA sensitisation workshop Ms Marie Chantal Nijimbere, the Minister for Trade, Transport, Industry, and Tourism of Burundi emphasised in a statement the importance of keeping youth and women in business informed about regional and continental trade dynamics, given their significant representation in the population.
“Including infrastructural deficits, low industrialisation, and persistent non-tariff barriers, which hinder the realisation of the AfCFTA’s potential,” Ms Nijimbere said recently in Burundi.
The AfCFTA offers the East African Community (EAC) region an opportunity to establish regional value chains, reduce dependence on external partners, and boost intra-African trade, ultimately improving GDP through domestic value addition.
EABC Chief Executive Officer John Kalisa expressed appreciation to Burundi for the successful finalisation and validation of the AfCFTA National strategy.
The interventions outlined in the AfCFTA national strategy for Burundi are poised to facilitate SMEs and women in business towards a seamless AfCFTA implementation.
The AfCFTA encompasses a market of 1.3 billion consumers, projected to grow to 1.7 billion by 2030, with an anticipated combined GDP of 3.4 trillion US dollars and consumer spending of nearly 4.0 trillion US dollars.
Furthermore, effective AfCFTA implementation is expected to lift 20 million people out of extreme poverty and 60 million people out of moderate poverty by 2035.
The two-day sensitisation workshop will enable 40 SMEs and to assess women in business the current status of negotiations and understand the implications of the AfCFTA protocols on their businesses, preparing them to engage in trade with counterparts across Africa.