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tralac Newsletter • Issue 3 • August 2018
Women and trade
August is Women’s Month in South Africa and so this edition of the tralac newsletter focuses on women in trade.

From hearing the hopes for the African Continental Free Trade Area from some of our women in trade governance champions, to addressing some of the most frequently asked questions about women in trade, we take a deep dive into why we should all care about women and trade.

We also feature a speech from the Right Honourable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia on Women’s Economic Empowerment, prepared for a Women in Trade session hosted by tralac at the SADC Industrialisation Week last month. We’d like to draw your attention to one part of that speech in particular (click to download):

The key word here is inclusive – we must not allow the gains of trade to mean that some are left behind. Thus, we need trade to grow the economic pie to be equitably shared by all. Trade creates opportunity, but it is up to us to direct that opportunity, and to enable our citizens to take advantage of these opportunities. In short, our policy choices will influence the distribution of the opportunities to trade, and benefits of trade.

This is an absolutely critical point. To truly be inclusive, we must recognise that women are affected differently by trade policy choices than men. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is part of a broad suite of development and structural transformation objectives that make up Agenda 2063. Agenda 2063 includes ambitious targets for gender equality, and also incorporates the sustainable development goals. The AfCFTA specifically recognises the importance of gender equality for the development of international trade and cooperation. As the AfCFTA takes shape, we must firstly understand the different effects of our policies and then design it in a way that is positive and empowering for women on the continent.

tralac will be launching a Women in Trade Governance network very soon; we will keep you posted.

The tralac team
Women champions of the AfCFTA

We asked some of Africa’s leading women in trade about their hopes for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Here is what they said.

tralacBlog is a forum to share and engage with the views of tralac researchers and Associates, as well as guest contributors, on pressing regional integration and trade policy issues affecting African countries in order to encourage relevant, topic-related discussion and debate.

Trade Governance Support to Empower Women Entrepreneurs
Women, trade and financial inclusion in SADC
Women driving the Cosmetics Sector in Namibia
Promoting Women’s Participation in the AfCFTA
Questions and Answers (FAQs)
Women and trade

Q: Why do gender issues matter in trade relations/agreements?

A: As an important component of economic life, trade both contributes to, and is impacted by inequality. Trade affects women differently than men. Trade also affects different women in different ways. This means that we must be aware of the differences.

At worst, trade policy can increase or perpetuate inequalities; leaving women even worse off. But it is more often the case that trade policies and changes maintain the status quo in terms of inequality. This still leaves women worse off as men can access and take advantage of the benefits of trade changes, while women are less able to. At best, trade provides opportunities for women, and contributes to structural change to promote equality.

Q: How do trade policies affect women differently?

A: When considering making gender sensitive trade policy (including trade agreements) it is essential that we take into account the many roles women play in the economy. It is important to consider how women and men participate in the economy in their capacity as employees, producers, consumers, unpaid workers, traders and as tax payers. It is important to understand how trade changes affect women in each of these roles. Trade policy can play an important role in narrowing the gender gap. Or, it can contribute to widening the gap.

Download the full Q&A to find out more.


Women and trade: Infographic

Click to download and visit our Infographics webpage to view our growing collection of infographics.

View more
tralac Short Course: Trade Law and Policy for Africa’s Development
tralac last week welcomed participants from across the continent to its inaugural short course: Trade Law and Policy for Africa’s Development. The course, conducted both online and in-person, started with a 5-day face-to-face module in Cape Town where participants learned both from tralac and from their peers. Participants were given a good grounding in the foundations of trade law, trade economics and the African trade landscape and debated the most pressing issues in trade law and policy. After a month of online learning, participants will return to Cape Town on 17 September for the second of three face-to-face modules.
Find out more
Publications and Analysis

Graphic and quantitative techniques are used to understand the relationship between disaggregated sectoral exports and the sector-weighted real exchange rate for the period from 2005-2017.

When and how does implementation of the AfCFTA begin? What must be implemented? What should be done to ensure optimal results and prevent technical hitches, delays or uncoordinated outcomes?

Intra-Africa trade and tariff profiles

tralac has prepared several Trade Data Updates to provide an overview of the intra-African trading relationships of individual African countries. Each country update is accompanied by a visual representation of key data and trends in an infographic.

AGOA trade to June up on 2017
Combined exports to the US were up by 13% compared to the same period in 2017, from $11.53b to $13.01b. Trade under AGOA/GSP increased from $5.4b to $6.42b over the same period, an increase of 19% year-on-year. Among the leading exporters, South Africa and Chad showed significant increases while Nigeria and Angola also recorded double-digit increases due to higher oil revenues.
Key trade stats for AGOA beneficiaries to end June 2018

Aggregate exports to US: Year to Date to May 2018: $ 13.01 billion (up 13% yoy)
Share of AGOA exports: Year to Date to May 2018: $ 6.42 billion (up 19% yoy)

Latest AGOA news updates
Following on from the recent completion of a new USAID Trade Hub supported Kenya National AGOA Strategy, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta paid US President Donald Trump a working visit. One of the outcomes of the visit has been the establishment of a “Trade and Investment Working Group”, whereby the two countries would “work together to explore a mutually beneficial trade and investment framework to guide the relationship move forward, as well as maximize the remaining years of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Meanwhile, recently introduced US tariffs on steel and aluminium, and possible further tariffs on automotive imports, are threatening to significantly undermine South Africa’s preferential access to the US market. These trade barriers appear to form the basis for South African chicken producers considering retaliatory action on South Africa’s dispensation relating to preferential chicken imports from the United States.

AGOA Forum 2018

Early July the annual US-Africa AGOA Forum took place in Washington, D.C. Both the forum agendas, as well as the forum outcomes and recommendations, can be downloaded from at the following link.

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