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AfCFTA Secretariat and AeTrade Group engage to fast track activities

Press Release

AfCFTA Secretariat and AeTrade Group engage to fast track activities in their MOU to scale up implementation of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area Kigali, Rwanda, 17 October 2023

A year ago, the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the AeTrade Group forged a new partnership to accelerate digital and financial inclusion at a larger scale by encouraging investment in Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs), with a view to creating 80-125 million decent jobs thereby eradicating extreme poverty in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.

On the margins of the AfCFTA Institutional Meetings hosted by the Government of Rwanda, Mr. Prudence Sebahizi, the AfCFTA Secretariat, Director for Institutional Matters and Programmes Coordination, who is also responsible for partnerships among others, and Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, AeTrade Group Chief Operating Officer, with their respective delegations met in order to review the Action Plan that was adopted in November 2022.

Noting that significant progress has been made on the AfCFTA negotiations, notably the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade as well as the Protocol on Digital Trade, it was observed that the Action Plan needs to be updated and specific targeted actions agreed in line with the emerging reality. The parties dedicated two meetings, at the AeTrade Group continental headquarters at the Kigali Special Economic Zone, Phase 2 and at the Lemigo Hotel. The discussions enabled the parties to exchange views on how to deploy technical and financial resources to fast track AfCFTA implementation in an inclusive and sustainable manner.

Mr. Prudence Sebahizi mentioned that “the AfCFTA Secretariat is delighted to see the integrated ecosystem that is being built around Sokokuu.Africa, which enables MSMEs, women and youth to participate in the AfCFTA market.” He advised that “the AfCFTA is keen to see the establishment of Pan African trading companies especially in countries participating in the Guided Trade Initiative in order to facilitate meaningful trade between small businesses across the continent.” The AeTrade Group Research and Innovation Centre is encouraged to collaborate with ongoing high-tech initiatives in order to provide support to start-ups and innovators in the continent.

After introducing the management team at AeTrade Group continental headquarters, Mrs Treasure Maphanga indicating that “the service delivery model of the AeTrade Group, the AfCFTA Secretariat and AfCFTA National Implementation Committees (NICs) have a key role to play as part of the inclusive ecosystem to provide affordable solutions to SMEs, women and youth to access the market including multichannel payments, affordable finance and logistics. Establishing a one-stop shop model through co-location of the services is thus, a cost-effective way to bring the AfCFTA closer to the grassroots.”

During the past year the AeTrade Group has made significant progress in establishing the digital trade infrastructure to enhance visibility and export readiness of women and youth–led SMEs through onboarding onto the digital marketplace (Sokokuu) . Through a shared prosperity model, more than 330 partners have signed up and more are welcome to participate in this inclusive sustainable programme. Using world-classtools for financial and digital inclusion the AeTrade Group is ready to implement an innovative approach in Rwanda in order to scale up job creation and youth entrepreneurship in agricultural regional value chains, This is one of the priority areas in the Action Plan in order to strengthen food systems across the continent.

The meeting concluded with the commitment to strengthen the partnership and its operational modalities in order to derive greater impact results in digital trade, trade in goods and trade in services as well as capacity building for the marginalised groups on the continent including MSMEs, women, youth and rural communities to benefit from the AfCFTA.


About the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want”, and entered into force on 30 May 2019. It is a a trade agreement of high ambition, which aims to bring together all 55 Member States of the African Union, covering a market of more than 1.3 billion people, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas. By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objective of the AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added products and trade across all services sectors of Africa’s economy, at a potential of 52.3 percent.

About Ae Trade

The Ae Trade is an African Diaspora-led social entrepreneurship initiative filling crucial gaps in e-commerce and other ICTs aiming to digitalize trade in Africa at a large scale. The group encourages investment in SMEs with a view to creating more jobs for the growing youth population – generating wealth across the continent. The AeTrade Group is implementing country programmes coordinated at their regional hubs with the continental headquarters located in Rwanda.

For further information, please contact:

Mrs. Grace Khoza, Principal Communications Advisor | African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat | E-mail: | Accra, Ghana

Ms. Elydora Matubanzila, Communications Officer | African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat| E-mail: | Accra, Ghana

Communication | Marketing | Advocacy Division, African Continental Free Trade Area |


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Mrs. Treasure Maphanga, Chief Operating Officer, AeTrade Group, e-mail:

Mr. Romeo Mpundu, Digital Marketing, AeTrade Group, e-mail:

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