Having remained on the periphery of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for many years, Ethiopia is scaling up efforts for accession. Although ratifying the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), neither the negotiations to join the WTO nor the efforts to implement the AfCFTA Agreement have been yielding visible results. While the government amplifies efforts to be included in international trade organizations, issues regarding the technical capabilities have been raised by some. Stephen Karingi, director at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said despite the appeal of expanding global trade, growing the implementation capacity of trade agreements should also garner attention. Melaku Ezezew, president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Association, disclosed the private sector's lack of access to finance, weak competition regulatory regime and inadequate institutional coordination hurt the trade competitiveness. ECA has fostered industrialization and sustained economic growth, authorising the Amharic translation of the continental agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), where non-English speakers can access the translation and benefit from the opportunities it provides. Three weeks ago, the British Embassy in Addis Abeba held a round table panel discussion on Ethiopian Trade Policy partnering with ECA. Speaking at the panel, Kassahun Gofe, state minister for Trade & Regional Integration, said advancing the WTO and AfCFTA accord is a key tool in the consolidation of domestic economic reforms. He believes AfCFTA steers a new era of trade for structural reforms in Africa.
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