By Naomi Sharang
The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), has urged the Federal Government to domesticate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Director-General of the institute, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, made the appeal at a one-day stakeholders’ dialogue in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Sulaiman said that this was to provide the enabling environment for gender-inclusive trade engagements.
He also called on the government to domesticate the Buenos Aires Declaration.
The theme of the dialogue was; “Gender and Women’s Economic Growth: Implementing the Buenos Aires Declaration in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’’.
The event was jointly organised by NILDS, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI).
Sulaiman said that gender mainstreaming in free trade agreements was becoming an increasingly common practice.
“This involves including provisions to address the specific needs of women and implementing agreements with gender-sensitive policies,’’ he said.
The director-general said the preamble of AfCFTA recognised the importance of gender equality for the development of international trade and economic cooperations.
“AfCFTA was created to promote trade and regional integration and development among African countries in line with the Africa Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063 Goal of an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.
“Article 27 of the Protocol on Trade and Services addresses the need to improve women’s export capacity.
“This provision targets women entrepreneurs and aims to ensure that they are not left behind in the process of trade liberalisation,’’ Sulaiman said.
He said the Buenos Aires declaration (2017) on women, trade and economic empowerment committed its signatories to collaborate on making trade and development policies more gender-responsive.
Sulaiman said the legislature had an important role to play in ensuring the implementation of those agreements and also in addressing challenges that women and women-led businesses, faced in trade agreements.
Declaring the event open, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that women had an important role to play in trade.
Lawan, who was represented by Sen. Sa’idu Alkali (APC-Gombe), called for more support for women engaged in various trades.