18thNovember 2020 (virtual meeting): IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) in collaboration with AUIBAR and ARSO organized a regional meeting to assess preparedness of IGAD countries so far, identify key technical issues that require attention of higher policy body in order to benefit optimally the countries from the AfCFTA initiatives.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union. It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and across Africa in general. The new trading block is expected to bring together 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $ 3.4 trillion. According to UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.

The virtual meeting was attended by 49 participants from AU-IBAR, USAID, UNECA, ARSO, IGAD and Senior Government Officials from Ministries of livestock and trade and private sectors  from 7 IGAD member states. Dr. SJM Munyua, Director of IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) and Prof. James Wabacha on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR made welcome remarks and Dr. Julia Kinyua officially opened the virtual meeting on behalf of the CVO, Kenya. The key recommendations were

  1. AU-IBAR, UNECA, IGAD, ARSO should provide technical Assistance to AfCFTA national team on need bases and support to MS to esablish /strengthen enquiry and notifcation points of SPS
  2. AU-IBAR in collboration with IGAD should assess / map the livestock resources / potential demand in Africa , to help in IGAD MS informed decision including for negotiatios
  3. Member states (MS) without national AfCFTA strategies to develop and validate them and undertake awareness creation about the same to mainstream private sector; traders and producers as well as government regulators;
  4. ARSO should fast-track Harmonization of standards of identified products across the region and continent and popularize them through RECs and relevant ministries;
  5. MS should strengthen national capacities of public and private sector to invest in right infrastructure for value addition as well as address sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) issues
  6. MS should strengthen harmonized disease prevention and control approaches with support of IGAD/ICPALD AUIBAR and ARSO;
  7. MS should work on policies and strategy framewoks and laws and enforce that will incentivise private sector investment, enhance collaboration of the goverment and private sector (farmers, traders, aggregators, manufacturers, transporters, exporters etc) to faciliate crossborder trade
  8. MS with support of AU-IBAR, IGAD and ARSO should work on elimination or minimizing of non-trade barriers (NTBs) by promoting e-commerce to strengthen trading of commodities (livestock / fisheries and their products); and monitoring and reporting of NTBs through online and SMS based tools
  9. MS should promote mutual recognition of national/ regional standards by trading partners and work on resolving Rules of Origin with other countries.
  10. MS should capaciitate producers and help promote commercial production and supply of quality marketable livestock as per market requirements
  11. Encourage /support the two IGAD countries (Sudan and South Sudan ) who signed but not ratified AfCFTA agreement

We are grateful to IGAD/RPLRP and AUIBAR for financing this event