High-level plenary session organised by the Saana Institute at the ICTSD Trade and Development Symposium 2015 alongside the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference

14.30-16.00, Monday 14th December, Hilton Nairobi


In an increasingly globalised world, regionalism has become a building block of many national growth and development strategies. Particularly for African states closer cooperation with their neighbours is seen as a strategic means of attracting investment, developing productive capacities and integrating in the world economy.

Africa is home to many regional groupings, from longstanding Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to more recent initiatives such as the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). Intra-Africa trade remains, however, stubbornly low at around 12% of total Africa Trade. In specific RECs for example, the share of intra-regional imports in total goods imports is only around 5% in COMESA, 10% in ECOWAS and 8% in UEMOA (World Bank 2012). This compares with over 20% in ASEAN, around 35% in NAFTA and more than 60% in the EU (World Bank 2012).


This high level plenary brought together key actors to review the prospects and challenges for deepening integration and boosting inclusive growth on the continent. The panel reviewed the emerging African mega FTAs, the role of business, and the potential of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement’s for boosting intra-African trade.


  • H.E. Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union
  • Mr Jean Louis Billon, Minister of Commerce, Cote d’Ivoire
  • Mr Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, Eastern Africa Regional Center, African Development Bank Group
  • Ms Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director, Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Mr Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa
  • Moderator: Mark Eddo

Watch a full recording of the session here


About the TDS Nairobi 2015

Held alongside the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December, the TDS is the largest multi-stakeholder platform reaching beyond the traditional trade community. It has been organised by ICTSD alongside each WTO Ministerial Conference since 2003, and has since become the main venue for open discussions and debate alongside WTO Ministerial Conferences. It provides an ideal setting to engage with policymakers, the private sector, NGOs, IGOs, think tanks, academia and civil society.

The Trade and Development Symposium (TDS), organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), is a platform for meaningful engagement with more than 1,500 key stakeholders in the trade and sustainable development community. The Saana Institute is our in-house think-tank at Saana Consulting, and we were proud to be a strategic partner of ICTSD in the organisation of this TDS Nairobi 2015 alongside the World Economic Forum, International Chamber of Commerce, TradeMark East Africa and the University of Nairobi.

Click here for more details about the event: http://tds.ictsd.org/