March 9th, 2023

Officials from EAC and other RECs Attend the WTO-World Bank Services Trade Policy in Africa Conference in Geneva (GIZ)

On 27 February 2023, officials from EAC, ECOWAS and SADC as well as national representatives from Tunisia, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Ethiopia and Niger attended the joint WTO-World Bank Services Trade Policy Conference in Geneva, Switzerland on the survey of Services Trade Policies and Regulations in African Economies that was conducted from 2020 to 2022.

The objective of the conference was to present the survey and the related quantification of trade policies in African economies, concurrently with the public release of the data. The officials got insights on the increasing importance for trade in services, with specific interest for developing countries.

In her keynote speech, the Director General, WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, noted that “Lack of comprehensive information on Services trade policies and regulations have eluded African governments and trade negotiators for a long time. In conducting the extensive regulatory surveys presented this morning, the WTO and the World Bank, supported by GIZ, ITC and the EU, have made an extraordinary contribution to all services trade negotiations in which African countries participate specifically, the AfCFTA and also here at the WTO”.

The regulatory audits survey highlighted how African countries can foster transparency of Trade in Services policies (Services Trade Policy Database) and quantify restrictiveness of policies (WB-WTO STRI) to support national policy reforms with regards to market entry and operational measures.

After the conclusion of the conference, from 28 February to 3 March, the officials participated in a study tour on Trade in Services policies which supplied insights from WTO Trade and Investment, UNCTAD, ITC and the International Institute for Sustainable Development on trade policies.

The study tour was facilitated by GIZ via the GIZ-AfCFTA project.

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Find more information on the Services Trade Policy Database (WTO | Services Trade Policy in Africa - Leveraging regulatory surveys for trade negotiations and policy) here.

Find more information about the GIZ-AfCFTA project here.