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Driving a gender-inclusive African continental free trade agreement

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of participating countries and people (an estimated 1.3 billion). This is an historic achievement for the continent. Although the new trade regime could be a game changer for women traders and entrepreneurs, failure to take deliberate measures in the design and implementation of the agreement to mitigate against the potential gender fallouts could inadvertently exacerbate the prevailing entrenched gender inequality. Data and evidence on who gains and who loses from the pact, the unintended destabilizing impact (e.g., on food security if smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, are pushed out by imports) and the broader gender implications are essential for harnessing the potential wins for women.

This action research project will provide timely input to inform the implementation of an inclusive trade regime where women and men benefit equally from the AfCFTA. It will do so through: in-depth gendered sectoral analysis of potential winners, losers and mitigation strategies; policy support and training for integrating gender into ongoing negotiations and implementation plans; and enriching stakeholder engagement using data and evidence.

It will be implemented in close collaboration with key regional and national stakeholders, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union, men and women farmers, traders, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and private-sector actors.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Martha Melesse
Total Funding
CA$ 883,700.00
North of Sahara
South of Sahara
Institution Country
South Africa
Trade Law Centre NPC