AU Commission Seeks partnership with AFBA on Development of Intra-African Trade
The African Union (AU) Commission has officially invited the leadership of the African Bar Association (AfBA) to its Expert Meeting on the Services Sector Strategy Development and Negotiation Guidelines on Trade in Services, which is scheduled for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on Friday, June 22, 2018.
In its letter signed by its director in the department of trade and industry, Treasure Maphanga and addressed to the President of AfBA, Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo, the AU Commission described the forthcoming meeting as an avenue to brainstorm on the design of a broad-based service-sector development programme for the African continent, and to obtain guidance from experts from organizations such as AfBA on negotiation guidelines and templates for specific commitments under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Trade in Services.
According to Maphanga, the Nairobi gathering is in furtherance of an agreement signed by African leaders earlier in the year in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, which created AfCFTA, of which the Protocol on Trade in Services forms an integral part.
Reiterating the importance of the service sector to the structural transformation and growth of African economies and the actualization of both the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the AU letter emphasized the need to fully harvest its vast potential in order to ensure sustainable development in Africa – hence the urgent for robust policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks to drive it.
Coming just weeks before AfBA’s own annual Conference – also scheduled for Nairobi from the 21st to the 27th of July 2018 – the AU invitation is a testimony to the growing importance of the African Bar as an indispensable partner and critical stakeholder in the continent’s quest for sustainable and wholistic development on both the human and infrastructural fronts.
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