Negotiating towards a tailor-made gender protocol under the AfCFTA: Could integrating Africa’s fragmented gender chapters be the key?

Recently, the understanding that enhanced intra-regional trade among African countries could be a powerful tool in accelerating economic growth, development and poverty reduction on the continent has led African leaders to place considerable importance on regional integration (Brenton et al., 2013). However, tapping into the benefits of intra-African trade requires careful attention to inclusivity issues in ensuring both men and women benefit and participate equally in regional economic integration (Bussolo and and De Hoyos, 2009). The decision by African heads of state to negotiate a separate Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade under the newly implemented African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement reaffirms the belief that improving women’s access to opportunities and removing barriers to their participation in international economies contributes to economic development.

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