Innovative Trade Initiative in Africa Extended to 2019

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The Hub and Spokes programme that expands opportunities for business, employment and prosperity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries has been extended to February 2019 starting with a stakeholders’ workshop currently ongoing in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The joint trade initiative of the European Union, ACP Group Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie places trade advisers, the ‘spokes’, in government ministries and regional trade advisers, the ‘hubs’, in regional organizations to provide support and build local capacity to develop trade policies delivering on national and regional development priorities.

The experts also ensure that the countries and regions can effectively take part in global trade. There are a total of nine hubs and 36 spokes under the programme.

“The programme is helping countries to use trade as a mechanism to advance human development and create prosperity. It has been an invaluable resource for Commonwealth member countries and in particular for small and capacity-constrained states,” Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj said.

In Africa, the programme has helped create a competitive services market in East Africa; helped Lesotho’s export capabilities; and enabled Malawi raise its voice in trade negotiations.

As 2017 shapes up to be an uncertain year for global trade, economic and political unpredictability, the workshop brings together 40 of the main Hub and Spokes programme stakeholders and 16 trade advisers to review the evolving trade landscape, exchange best practices and establish sustainable foundation for the design of national and regional trade policies.

Chekou Oussouman, Head of the Hub and Spokes programme at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie noted that several countries and regions have taken ownership of the programme’s efforts, contributing to the financing of its activities.

He added that the programme’s consolidation phase will see the transfer of key structuring activities to the beneficiaries.

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