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The Centre for Climate Change and Gender Studies (3CGS) in the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), has organized a one-day roundtable meeting to discuss regional trade agreements and climate change in Africa.  

Intra-Africa trade was valued at $69 billion and accounted for 15 percent of Africa’s total trade in 2019. On the other hand, climate change is severely impacting the horn of Africa and many of the Continent’s agriculture and critical infrastructure sectors including food production, processing, and distribution; roads and transport; power and energy.

In view of this, the Centre for Climate Change and Gender Studies in partnership with the Trade Hub German Cooperation held a colloquium on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

At the center of the discussion was to understand the complex dynamics between climate change and trade in renewable energy products and agricultural goods in Africa to identify the critical solutions required to produce sustainable climate benefits.

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 Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice-Chancellor

In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako painted a bright picture of the Africa Continent in the area of trade. He noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will propel the continent to greatness in spite of the rise in interest rates and the winding down of economic stimulus packages.

‘‘This agreement is a tool for poverty alleviation in the continent as it will reduce tariffs among member countries and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regulatory measures such as sanitary standards and technical barriers to trade,’’ he said.

According to Prof. Asare-Bediako, climate change continues to pose an imminent threat to agriculture and trade in Africa and thus made the case for climate change to be considered when formulating trade policies.

 ‘‘The impact of climate change on African economies and trade is immense,’’ he noted. ‘‘Rising temperatures, sea level rise and extreme weather can lead to the damage of properties and critical infrastructure, impact human health and productivity, and negatively affect sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. Agricultural commodities are major players in African trade. African leaders committed at Malabo in 2014 to tripling intra-Africa trade in agricultural commodities and services by 2025.  As climate change has a direct impact on such economic sectors, it is very expedient to consider climate change in regional trade agreements and policy making,’’ Prof. Asare-Bediako added.

The colloquium was on the theme: ‘‘Climate, Trade, and the Energy-Food Nexus: Facilitating Climate Action through Free Trade Agreements in Africa.’’

It brought together experts and participants in agriculture, trade, law, renewable and academia to several topics including; the critical role of regional trade in adaption to climate change in Africa, the critical dialogue on emerging issues in energy, agriculture, climate and regional trade in Ghana and the role of language in cross-border trade negotiations in Africa: A case study of the French language among others. 

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A cross-section of participants