Strengthening Africa’s Capacity to Trade

March 23, 2021

This report from the World Trade Organization (WTO) explores how African countries can leverage the multilateral trading system to take greater advantage of international markets and promote economic transformation, and highlights the WTO’s deep involvement in the region, with 16.0 per cent of all technical assistance activities focused on African countries, the highest of any region. It spans topics such as trade negotiation skills, e-tourism, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, fisheries subsidies and trade policy courses.

With an estimated negative growth rate of -8.0 per cent in 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hard by the downturn in trade and economic activity caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the report finds. Efforts made by the WTO to revive the progress made before the crisis and help minimize its effects include technical assistance and capacity-building activities for developing countries and least-developed countries, the WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative and support for implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Capacity-building projects led by the Standards and Trade Development Facility to facilitate safe and inclusive trade and to help African economies meet their trade and development objectives are showcased in the report. It also highlights the important role policy-making can play in government procurement, trade in services, technology transfer for cotton by-products and intellectual property to create an environment conducive to trade development and helping African countries further integrate into the global trading system.