Harnessing Trade for a Peaceful and Prosperous Africa
Trade and investment can help advance peace, security and development in Africa at a time when the pandemic has resulted in a significant contraction in Africa’s economy, including a slowdown in foreign direct investment and mounting debt burdens. The establishment of strong ties, forged by mutual trade and investment between African states can foster greater economic prosperity and more peaceful bilateral and regional relations on the continent. Through the creation of local and regional value chains and the diversification of the economy, trade and investment flows contribute to the expansion of African markets and the creation of job opportunities and can therefore be potent drivers of post-COVID recovery. In this context, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a timely and ambitious African initiative bringing together 54 African economies to form the world’s largest trading bloc of 1.3 billion people, with a GDP worth USD 3.4 trillion and a potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3%. In addition, the "Trade for Peace" through the World Trade Organization's Accessions Initiative brings together fragile and conflictaffected countries to mobilize trade and global economic integration as a tool to rebuild their economies and promote sustainable and inclusive peace. Now more than ever, the necessity for rapid and efficient economic recovery through boosting trade is critical for Africa’s structural transformation. Accordingly, this session will discuss means of harnessing trade to strengthen peace, security and resilience in the context of post-COVID recovery particularly in fragile countries and those emerging from conflicts.