| 04 Mar 2020 | by

SheTrades AfCFTA

SheTrades: Empowering Women in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), jointly implemented with the African Union Commission and in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, aims to empower women-Bildergebnis für nited Nations Economic Commission for Africa logoowned businesses,
women entrepreneurs and producers to benefit
from tr
ade opportunities created by the AfCFTA.

The project will help to design a more inclusive AfCFTA by providing women’s business associations and policy-makers with capacity building and advocacy support and bringing them together to discuss concrete policy options. The project focuses on awareness, knowledge and consensus for the design and implementation of inclusive trade policies. 


The AfCFTA covers 54 countries with an expected GDP of more than US$3.4 trillion, and recognizes the importance of gender equality for international trade and development. 

Women-owned businesses face a number of economic, social and cultural barriers which prevent them from seizing the opportunities offered by regional trade. As the AfCFTA opens opportunities for regional value chains and value addition, it is important that trade policy makers consider the priorities, needs and opportunities for women in the negotiations and implementation of the agreement. 

ITC Support

This project strengthens the private sector’s engagement with the AfCFTA process through:

1) A better understanding of the impact and opportunities of the AfCFTA for women-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and producers across markets;

2) Dialogues with trade policy makers on issues affecting women-owned businesses.

Part of this project focuses on understanding the challenges that women-owned businesses face, to be able to inform trade provisions and implementation mechanisms, and capacity building programmes.

Who are the beneficiaries?
⚪ Women Business Associations (WBAs)
  • ⚪ Trade negotiators
  • ⚪ Women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs
  • SheTrades AfCFTA provides WBAs with knowledge on the AfCFTA, an opportunity to create a united voice and share good practices with other key stakeholders and to discuss priorities to trade negotiators. 

    Past Events

    ⭐ In November 2019, ITC, AUC and UNECA, held a policy dialogue with key stakeholders from 54 African countries to introduce the project and increase awareness among WBAs and policy-makers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These 79 representatives, from 42 countries, representing almost 900,000 women across Africa, submitted their recommendations on how to make the AfCFTA work for them.

    The workshop focused on informing the WBAs on the AfCFTA negotiation and implementation, the Boosting Intra-African Trade Action Plan (BIAT) and the Services Sector Development Program (SSDP). Speakers discussed how women’s business associations could be more involved in the AfCFTA process at the national, REC and continental levels.

    COMING UP IN 2020