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African Trade Policy Centre’s Cross Cutting Issues- Gender. Amal Nagah Elbeshbishi Regional Advisor on Trade African Trade Policy Centre United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The Strategic Orientation of ATPC Rest on Three Pillars.

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African Trade Policy Centre’s Cross Cutting Issues- Gender

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African Trade Policy Centre’s Cross Cutting Issues- Gender

Amal Nagah Elbeshbishi

Regional Advisor on Trade

African Trade Policy Centre

United Nations

Economic Commission for Africa

The Strategic Orientation of ATPC Rest on Three Pillars

  • Providing fully integrated trade capacity building for Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

  • Providing comprehensive capacity building for trade constituencies

  • Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues in trade policy analysis and implementation.

Mainstreaming Cross-Cutting Issues in Trade Policy Analysis and Implementation - Gender

Trade policymaking in Africa will benefit from taking cross-cutting issues into account. Of particular importance in this regard is gender.

  • Gender inequality remains one of the main challenges facing African countries. These inequalities manifest themselves in various forms, ranging from women’s limited access to ownership, and control of factors of production and social services, and socio-economic opportunities, to low representation in decision-making spheres. Such marginalization is even more evident in areas of trade policy and trade practices.

  • The institutional framework of the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) is based on the assumption that trade policies and agreements are genderneutral. This underlying assumption has led to the neglect of gender as a variable in trade policy making.

  • Trade can have different impacts on women and men at country and continental levels and as a result of the multilateral trading system at global levels.

  • Although we know that women are the majority of the poor and low- skilled workers, there is very little known on the impact of trade liberalization on them, partly because of lack of gender-disaggregated data in trade statistics, and partly because of lack of gender awareness in economic analysis.

  • CIDA has developedtrade- related capacity- building (TRCB) initiatives that include a gender component because the relationship between gender and trade is a new issue for governments, trade policy makers, the WTO, and for academic researchers.

  • Gender is excluded from the WTO frame of reference. The talks in Hong Kong confirmed that the WTO is explicitly concerned with barriers to, and rules for, trade liberalization.

  • WTO Director General, stated that only one imbalance was left at the negotiation table that is the gender gap since only three of thirty ministers in the decisive Green Room were female, his flagging up of the gender gap in this context was instrumental in showing power inequities in the negotiations.

ATPC Adopts a Hybrid Model with Three Parallel Strategies

  • Strategy 1:Gender integration into all ATPC current activities, processes and policies

  • Strategy 2:Mounting tangible gender specific initiatives

  • Strategy 3:Work in coordination with broader UNECA initiatives – the African Centre for Gender and Social Development (ACGSD)

Strategy 1: Gender Integration into all ATPC Current Activities, Processes and Policies

  • ATPC systematically integrates gender into current and planned policies, programmes and activities so that it is more gender responsive at all levels.

  • ATPC developed a Gender policy and implementation framework, which states its commitment to gender equality and makes all staff a part of its enactment.  

Strategy 1 (Continued)

  • ATPC training workshops ensures the covering of gender issues and respect a gender balance in participation to ensure the voices of women are heard and their concerns are addressed.

  • ATPC developed a gender and trade roster of experts from within Africa and its diaspora along with international gender specialists in trade to help with gender issues.

Strategy 2: Mounting Tangible Gender Specific Initiatives

ATPC is uniquely positioned to become an

interlocutor between policymakers and women

traders through:

- Championing gender and trade issues and findings at higher policy levels.

- Becoming a think tank for gender and trade issues in Africa.

- Championing African gender and trade issues in recommendations to member states and RECs.

- Recognizing and “messaging” the real value of women in trade in Africa

Strategy 3: Work in Coordination with Broader UNECA Initiatives – the African Centre for Gender and Social Development (ACGSD)

The ACGSD developed indicators for gender and trade areas and ATPC is promoting them at policy and training workshops to better inform governments on how to apply such indicators.

What Should be done?

  • Africa lacks a functional network of experts and platforms for the promotion of experience sharing and information exchange on trade and gender issues. The establishment of a network of African gender and trade experts should be given serious thought.

  • Policy makers and trade negotiators should improve their understanding of the intertwine between trade policy, trade liberalization and their gender dimension so that they can take the necessary steps to create gender sensitive trade rules.

  • Gender mainstreaming needs to be implemented in organizations working on trade related issues in order to ensure that women’s gender- specific disadvantages are addressed.

  • Trade ministries and trade negotiators should recognize the gender differentiated impacts of trade liberalization and ensure the alignment of trade policy with gender equality and poverty reduction objectives.

  • Regional Economic Communities should establish a continuing dialogue on gender issues with trade policy makers and negotiators in the national and international arenas.

  • UNECA should continue to provide cutting- edge research and analysis on gender and trade issues, assist in the development of tools for the formulation and implementation of gender aware trade policies, and provide support for the promotion of regional/ sub- regional networks of women entrepreneurs and exporters.

In ATPC We Do Believe in the Proverb

“Until You Spread Your Wings, You Do Not Know How Far You Can Fly”

  Thus we try to help African countries and RECs to explore and reach their potentials, because the African continent has immense human and natural resource potential that if properly harnessed, could improve the living conditions of its habitants.

Thank You

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