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Experts discuss impact of aid-for-trade initiatives on Africa

A panel of experts is meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to explore the impact of aid-for-trade initiatives that have been developed since 2005 to spur trade and productivity in Africa.

The Expert Group Meeting and Workshop on Aid for Trade and Africa’s Trading Capacity opened Monday at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa.

The three-day workshop is being attended by trade experts from around the world and will examine the total aid-for-trade flows to Africa and methodologies for determining its effectiveness.

In a message read on his behalf by Mr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Chief of Staff, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh said the meeting was critical as trade was one of the key pillars for bringing sustainable development to Africa.

He noted that Africa’s poor trading position was related to supply side constraints, including infrastructure bottlenecks, which aid-for-trade flows are seeking to improve.

“Infrastructure and productive capacity building are the two categories receiving most Aid for Trade resources in Africa. This is not surprising because weak infrastructure and the weak productive capacity are the two most trade binding constraints for Africa,” he said.

He concluded that ECA was determined to work with partners to ensure that Africa becomes a key player in regional and international trade.

The overall objective of the workshop is to examine how effectiveness of Aid for Trade can be assessed, what are its impacts and how Aid for Trade can support regional integration processes in Africa.

By examining selected studies that have used different methodologies to assess the effectiveness of Aid for Trade; and by providing a forum for a dialogue between donors, African countries and Africa’s regional economic communities, the workshop will help to bridge differences in interpretation.

It will also determine how aid can be better used to support regional integration in Africa.


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