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ECOWAS holds capacity building workshop on digital trade for AfCFTA e-commerce agenda

The ECOWAS Commission collaborated with the GIZ African Union Support Programme to the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) to hold its first virtual regional workshop on “Capacity building for Digital Trade for the AfCFTA E-Commerce Agenda”.The statement by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja said that the overall objective of the workshop, which was held on 13th September 2021, was to further build the capacity of relevant stakeholders to effectively negotiate the E-Commerce Protocol, which forms part of the Agreement on the AfCFTA.

The workshop, according to the statement, provided a background on e-commerce in the region, as well as considered the negotiations on e-commerce and digital trade in multiple fora.

It added that the Director of Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Ghana, Mickson OPOKU, who chaired the meeting, expressed appreciation to ECOWAS Commission and GIZ for organising the workshop and encouraged participants to seize upon the opportunity to enhance their understanding of e-commerce challenges and opportunities in the region, which will inform their common positions in the AfCFTA e-Commerce negotiations.

Making his remarks on behalf of Tei Konzi, ECOWAS Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Kolawole Sofola, Acting Director of Trade, highlighted regional initiatives being undertaken to boost the adoption and utilization of e-commerce in the region, including the ongoing development of a regional e-commerce Strategy.

On his part, Jan Miksch, Component Lead of the GIZ AU Support Programme to the AfCFTA underscored the relevance and catalytic effect of the Protocol on Digital Trade and E-Commerce on the realization of the objectives of the AfCFTA.

Although the AfCFTA negotiations are Member State driven, the ECOWAS Commission continues to support Member States to ensure the adoption of common positions ahead of the negotiations, in line with directives by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

The workshop was attended by Experts on e-commerce from Member States, as well as officials from the ECOWAS Commission and representatives from GIZ.

Published on 10.02.2021

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