About the Inquiry

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty (APPG TOP) is undertaking an inquiry into the UK’s Africa Free Trade Initiative (AFTi), which was launched by the Prime Minister five years ago.

The inquiry will look at progress, potential and future development of the Africa Free Trade Initiative.

This Inquiry seeks to answer the following three main questions:

  • What has been achieved in AFTi since 2011 and what lessons can be learned?
  • Is there a case for a successor to AFTi in the area of further facilitating trade and investment within Africa as a driver of growth and poverty reduction, and between African and the rest of the world, including the UK?
  • What should a future AFTi look like, what targets should it seek to achieve, and through which means and partnerships should it be delivered?

The Inquiry is led by a committee co-chaired by Lord Stephen Green, former Minister of State for Trade and Investment and Group Chairman of HSBC, and Mr. Ali Mufurki, Board Chair of TradeMark East Africa and founder and Chairman of Infotech Investment Group. Other Committee members include Prof. Myles Wickstead, former Head of Secretariat, Commission for Africa and Ambassador Darlington Mwape, Senior Fellow at International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and former Permanent Representative of Zambia to the WTO.

The Secretariat for the APPG-TOP, Saana Institute, will support the Inquiry committee in gathering evidence, organising hearings and preparing its Report.

About the Africa Free Trade initiative (AFTi)

The UK government launched the Africa Free Trade initiative (AFTi) in February 2011 to help African countries integrate into the global world trade system, using trade as an instrument for economic growth and poverty alleviation. Recognised as a priority in the UK Trade and Investment for Growth Whitepaper, AFTi has brought together regional trade initiatives from across the Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Foreign and  ommonwealth Office (FCO) to provide investment, technical assistance and political support to enhance trade in Africa. This included providing support to African countries on the design of border posts, infrastructure investment and analysis of major transport bottlenecks.

Call for Evidence

We are now calling for evidence from interested parties to support the Inquiry. The submissions will be shared with the Inquiry Committee members to support the hearings, which will be held in 19th April 2016 in Parliament in London.

Please find guidelines for submission of evidence here.

The call for evidence will close on Friday 8th April 2016.