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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
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 gender
neutral. This underlying assumption has led to the
neglect of gender as a variable in trade policy
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
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 genderdisaggregated data in trade statistics, and partly
because of lack of gender awareness in
economic analysis.
has developed trade- 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
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
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
ATPC systematically integrates gender into
current and planned policies, programmes and
activities so that it is more gender responsive at all
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
- 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
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
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