Improving Women's and Young Women's Access to the Opportunities Created by the AFCFTA: Opportunities and Key Action Areas
The signature of the Agreement Establishing the African pre-existing inequalities in African economies. In this regard, Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 21 March 2018 marked a historic milestone for economic integration in Africa.
The AfCFTA presents significant trade and business opportunities for women engaged in intraregional trade, including in critical sectors where women are actively engaged, such as agriculture, manufacturing (clothing and textiles) and services. Notwithstanding the promise, AfCFTA market liberalization could also entrench multiple disadvantages that women and young women confront as a result of pre-existing inequalities in African economies. In this regard, this brief analyses, synthesizes and presents key findings from UN Women-led research, regional online surveys and advocacy on making the AfCFTA work for (young women and (young) women-led businesses. It highlights opportunities for women and young women's participation in the AfCFTA and identifies specific barriers and gender inequalities that different groups face when accessing markets. This policy brief concludes with several key action areas for making the AfCFTA work for (young) women, (young) women-led businesses and gender-responsive businesses.