"Boosting Intra-African Trade and Establishing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)"

The Second African Trade Forum (ATF II) held in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa has endorsed a network of African Journalists who would mobilize other journalists and promote free trade agenda across the continent.

The network, known as Journalists For Trade and Development in Africa (J-Trade) was formed on the last day of the three-day forum following recommendations that the media was a key partner in development and trade issues.

According to the network President, Emmanuel K. Dogbevi of Ghana, J-Trade Africa’s mission is to promote trade in Africa with a key focus on the continental free trade area.

“The network will seek to build members’ capacity on trade issues as well as organise workshops and training in other African countries to build the capacity of journalists on the continent to report and write on trade issues,” said Dogbevi following his appointment.

The AFT II, organised by the Africa Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) brought together stakeholders in trade in Africa and development partners.

The forum discussed the way forward for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and sought to build on the current political expression of support for the continental trade agenda as agreed by two Summits of Heads of State and Government of Africa held this year on the same theme.

The stakeholders represented a broad base of actors in academia, business, policy-makers finance, non-governmental organizations, as well as the media.

In the recommendations the conference agreed that even though the establishment of the CFTA agenda is government driven, it would require the participation of civil society actors, private sector, parliamentarians and development partners.

-By Francinah Baaitse recently in Addis Ababa

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