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Women Should Not be Left Behind in the AfCFTA

Despite the fact that women run most small and medium scale businesses in Africa, they have a $42 billion gap in funding versus men. Female owned businesses tend to be underfunded, but over mentored with the ring-fencing of certain small pools of funding to them, ironically sometimes putting them at a disadvantage. Since trading officially started in January last year, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has notched some milestones on the march to meaningful commercial activity. There is now a rules of origin manual (pdf) detailing criteria for exempting goods from excise duty, as well as an electronic tariff portal. A guided trade initiative was started in July as a pilot trade scheme involving Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Egypt. PAPSS, Africa’s central payments switch for settling transactions in local currencies, is operational.