Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)


This report presents the findings and recommendations of the UN Women commissioned study on Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This study aimed to identify opportunities for women entrepreneurs with regard to the AfCFTA, focusing on three areas of interest: women in informal cross-border trade (WICBT), gender and value chain analysis, and affirmative action/preferential public procurement. The study further analysed challenges for women entrepreneurs in the context of the AfCFTA. The study looked at inter-linkages between trade, public procurement, value chains and gender inequality. It assessed potential ways for improving regional integration frameworks from a gender perspective. It also analysed potential ways of integrating gender concerns into value chain development projects and programmes to help women maximize their profitability and competitiveness. Finally, the study analysed different preferential procurement schemes adopted in four countries in East and Southern Africa, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa. The selection of these countries was based on UN Women’s ongoing work on preferential public procurement in these four countries. To address the specified objectives, the study reviewed, analysed and synthesized existing literature from various sources. This was complemented with key informant interviews facilitated via email, Skype and telephone. The key informants were selected from among stakeholders currently involved in AfCFTA negotiation processes or involved in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment programmes. The study also drew on an analysis of secondary data accessed from existing gender and trade databases, mainly the COMESA open access data under COMSTAT

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Jack Onyisi Abebe, jack.abebe@unwomen.org/ esaro.publications@unwomen.org

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Subject areas: Economic empowerment
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