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Africa Prosperity Dialogues: days two and three update

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The Africa Prosperity Dialogues, or "Kwahu Summit" are continuing smoothly in Ghana. On 27 January 2023, discussions were focused on how to develop partnerships between the private sector and African governments, on the indissoluble connection between trade and foreign direct investments, and on the role of the African diaspora as a catalyst in driving economic growth and development in Africa within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The African Diaspora has been recognized as a potential source of investments in African economies which can be leveraged also for transferring human capital, knowledge, and technology into the continent. In this regard, African States have been invited to develop diaspora engagement policies to identify strategies for engaging, maintaining and developing relationships with communities of their citizens living abroad. The experiences of Ghana and Ethiopia were mentioned, two countries that have estimated communities of over 3 million of people living abroad. This topic was also discussed during the first day of the event.

Ethiopia, in particular, was mentioned as a country with a particularly sophisticated diaspora engagement policy, which includes tools as the ‘Ethiopian Origin ID Card’, i.e., ID cards issued by Embassies of Ethiopia to Ethiopians living abroad and who intend to invest in their motherland, granting a series of investment privileges such as the right to buy shares in private commercial banks, as well as other incentives. Ethiopia also periodically issues diaspora bonds aimed at collecting financial resources from communities of Ethiopians living abroad for funding large projects in the country, especially in the infrastructure sector.

In the third day of the Summit, held today (28 January 2023), the AfCFTA Secretariat reminded the key tools of support to AfCFTA trade that are currently operational, including as the AfCFTA e-tariff book, the AfCFTA manual of origin and the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS). The need to establish a trade finance facility to improve affordability, cost and access to trade especially for micro, small and medium enterprises was also highlighted, while a request has been formulated for extending the AfCFTA Guided trade initiative to other African countries and to develop a similar initiative also for trade in services.

On the other hand, the AfCFTA Dispute Settlement Body, the body responsible for settlement of disputes arising under the AfCFTA, will soon be fully operational with the appointment of the various panel body members which is expected to be completed this year. The finalization of the AfCFTA Phase 2 negotiations was also pointed out, with the texts of Protocols on Investments, on Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights that have been concluded and opened for ratification. With regard to the remaining Protocols that still need to be completed, it was revealed that negotiations of the Protocol on Women and Youth are expected to be finalized in June 2023. Negotiations of the Protocol on Digital Trade are also proceeding smoothly.

Furthermore, an invite to ratify the African Union Protocol relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment (Free Movement Protocol) - so far ratified only by 4 African countries - was also addressed to the African Union members States, pointing out that the entry into force of such Protocol will provide the legal basis for the free circulation of workers and services in the continent.

In addition, African governments have been urged to set up special measures to support women and youth entrepreneurs to take advantage of the AfCFTA. Lastly, it was proposed to transform the Africa Prosperity Dialogues in a permanent forum, to be organised annually, to take stock of progress made under the AfCFTA at regular intervals.

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