To ensure that women have access to new opportunities that would be created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (Af- CFTA), especially in economic areas such as agriculture, industry, services and trade, African Union (AU) members must take intentional steps in creating and implementing gender-sensitive policies and implementing targeted complementary measures, the Lead Researcher at the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC), Mr Gerald Woode, has said.
He stated this during the Conference’s monthly briefing on the topic: “Distributional impact of AfCFTA on poverty reduction and employment in sub-Saharan Africa.” Commenting on the impact of AfCFTA on unemployment, he said employment in North Africa was predicted to grow from 64.2million to 75.9million by 2035 at an annual rate of 1.12 per cent, which was quite close to the non-AfCFTA average.
The Lead Researcher said in contrast, employment in Sub- Saharan Africa was predicted to grow at a 2.7 per cent yearly rate from $437million to more than $650 million. He said concrete steps must be implemented to promote women and youth entrepreneurship, which could be accomplished through national efforts such as gendersensitive education, womentraining programmes, and financial support for female entrepreneurs. Woode said the full implementation of the potential of AfCFTA would lift 67.9million people or 3.6 per cent of the continent’s population out of poverty by 2035. “At the moderate poverty line of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) $5.50 US dollars a day, the full implementation of the potential will lift 3.6 per cent of the continent’s population out of poverty by 2035,” he said.
Furthermore, he said the full implementation of the agreement could also lift an additional 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035. According to him, Africa’s extreme poverty headcount ratio was projected to decline from 34.7 per cent in 2015 to 15.5 per cent by 2030 and 10.9 per cent in 2035. He said throughout the period, sub-Saharan Africa would observe a decline in extreme poverty to 13.1 per cent from the most recent estimate of 41.1 per cent, but most countries in North Africa would be expected to eradicate extreme poverty by 2035.