Sudan’s Ministry for Industry and Trade together with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched on Sunday, a stakeholder dialogue on the export potential of Sudan in the imminent African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which starts in seven days.
At the stakeholder dialogue, CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol commented saying, “ITFC is keen to work closely with the partners and be part of this important initiative, the AfCFTA, specially during these challenging times. Intra-African trade is crucial for the economic awakening of the African continent. Sudan with its rich resources and strategic importance will have a huge potential in terms of exports and ultimately, the attainment of greater socio-economic inclusion in the country.”
“We need to work together and in a very practical way so as to ensure Sudan benefits from the AfCFTA and makes the most of its strong points – its workforce, its agriculture and industry – to increase exports to African countries,” added Khaled Hussein, interim director of the ECA Office for North Africa.
The stakeholder dialogue is being held, as per the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s request, with the goal of raising stakeholders’ awareness on the potential impact of the AfCFTA on the national economy and how best for Sudan to benefit from this trade agreement.
During the course of the dialogue, government officials, private sector and civil society representatives as well as academics will be provided with a better understanding of the stakes and challenges related to the AfCFTA.
In addition, the training will seek to increase Sudanese policy makers’ capacity to design and implement policies to enhance national exports and strengthen the productive sector.
The AfCFTA is scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2021, with the ambition of becoming the world’s largest trade bloc and generate a market of more than 1.2 billion consumers.
One year into the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Economic Commission for Africa and its partners consider that the AfCFTA can play a key role in accelerating Africa’s economic recovery and building back on stronger, more resilient bases thanks to the structural transformation of African economies.
While experts identify significant growth potentials for Sudanese sectors and products such as mining, leather, agro-industries and textiles, much remains to be done to restore and modernize the national financial and industry sectors, and increase their competitiveness in the African and global trade markets.
The stakeholder dialogue on the African Continental Free Trade Area is the first of three workshops jointly organized by the ECA Office for North Africa and the Islamic Development Bank International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).