The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), October 2001

Sectors : International trade: market access, subsidies and aid for trade, Regional trade, Investment
Organisation : AU
Date made: 
Heads Of State
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Commitments in: Trade - International trade: market access, subsidies and aid for trade

“Promoting African Exports

165. Objectives
- To improve procedures for customs and drawback/rebate schemes;

- To tackle trade barriers in international trade through the improvement of standards;

- To increase intra-regional trade through promoting cross-border interaction among African firms;

- To counter Africa’s negative image through conflict resolution and marketing;

- To deal with shortages of short-term skills through appropriate incentives and training at firm level.

166. Actions
At the African level:

- Promote intra-African trade with the aim of sourcing within Africa imports formerly sourced from other parts of the world;

- Create marketing mechanisms and institutions to develop marketing strategies for African products;

- Publicise African exporting and importing companies and their products through trade fairs;

- Reduce the cost of transactions and operations;

- Promote and improve regional trade agreements, foster interregional trade liberalisation and harmonise rules of origin, tariffs and product standards;

- Reduce export taxes.

At the international level:
- Negotiate measures and agreements to facilitate access to the world market by African products;

- Encourage foreign direct investment;

- Assist in capacity-building in the private sector, as well as strengthening country and subregional capacity in trade negotiations, implementing the rules and regulations of the WTO, and identifying and exploiting new trading opportunities that emerge from the evolving multilateral trading system;

- The African heads of state must ensure active participation in the world trading system, which has been managed under the auspices of the WTO since 1995. If a new round of multilateral trade negotiations is started, it must recognise and provide for the African continent’s special concerns, needs and interests in future WTO rules.”


“167. Participation in the world trading system must enhance:
- Open, predictable and geographically diversified market access for exports from Africa;

- The provision of a forum in which developing countries can collectively call for structural adjustment by developed countries in those industries in which the natural competitive advantage now lies with the developing world;

- Transparency and predictability as preconditions for increased investment, in return for boosting supply capacity and enhancing the gains from existing market access;

- Technical assistance and support to enhance the institutional capacity of African states to use the WTO and to engage in multilateral trade negotiations.”


“168. In addition to broad-based support for the WTO, African heads of state must identify strategic areas of intervention and, together with the international community, strengthen the contribution of trade to the continent’s recovery. The strategic areas include:
- Identifying key areas in export production in which supply-side impediments exist;

- Diversifying production and exports, especially in existing and potential areas of competitive advantage, and bearing in mind the need to move towards higher value-added production;

- Assessing the scope for further liberalisation in manufacturing, given the concentration of access in low value-added sectors and its restrictiveness in high value-added activities with the greatest economic and growth potential;

- Renewed political action by African countries to intensify and deepen the various integration initiatives on the continent. To this end, consideration needs to be given to:

- A discretionary preferential trade system for intra-African trade;

- The alignment of domestic and regional trade and industrial policy objectives, thereby increasing the potential for intra-regional trade critical to the sustainability of regional economic arrangements.”


“169. Heads of state must act to:
- Secure and stabilise preferential treatment by key developed country partners, e.g. the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), the Cotonou Agreement, the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA);

- Ensure that further multilateral liberalisation does not erode the preferential gains of these arrangements;

- Identify and address deficiencies in their design and application.”