Importance of Africa’s women in implementation of AfCFTA

The landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) came into effect on Sunday, 7th July, at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic.

The deal is expected to create a market for over 1 billion people, with a GDP of approximately US$2.6 trillion.

Africa has a total population exceeding 1.2 billion people, with women taking up over 48 percent of the figure.

The demographics point to the need for the continent – which still faces some challenges related to gender inequality – to close the gender gap if the AfCFTA benefits will be realized to the maximum.

In an exclusive interview with CGTN, Dr. Carlos Lopes, an AUC High Representative, said it was important for the continent’s women to be included in the implementation of the trade deal, because failure to do so would cut down its viability.

“Our work force will be the largest in the world, surpassing China and India. But it’s the largest because it includes women as well. If it doesn’t then – you know – we are talking about 50 percent or less, and this is not acceptable,” Dr. Lopes said.

The AUC High Representative urged the continent’s leaders to facilitate the removal of obstacles that impede women’s quest for success He noted that policies needed to be put in place to address such challenges and help level the genders.