The story of climate change in the trade sector is not only one of mitigation and harnessing economic opportunities.
The impact of increasingly severe weather events and harsher long-term conditions on economies in TMA focus regions is only likely to increase –affecting agricultural production and livelihoods in the Sahel and the East and Horn of Africa.
Trade facilitation enables adaptation to not only support vulnerable groups during crisis, but also to address the underlying causes of such crises. It makes the distribution of food trade faster and cheaper, thus connecting food-surplus to food-deficit countries, and so reducing the cost, and increasing the quality and predictability of staple food both for vulnerable communities and for humanitarian responders.
If trade facilitation is to impact effectively on poverty reduction, it cannot ignore vulnerable and marginalised groups, including women, youth, and people with disabilities. Young people constitute over 60% of Africa’s population, a figure that will only increase, and closing the gender gap in trade could increase the value of exports from women owned businesses by up to $1 trillion globally. Yet women and youth-owned trading businesses in Africa continue to operate primarily in the informal sector, which puts them at a disadvantage in accessing logistics, business development services, finance and the trade regulatory information they need to grow their businesses.
Make regional food trade in staple crops more efficient, competitive and structured, through greater compliance with standards and sanitary measures, better aggregation and storage, and increased access to finance.
Increase the speed of trading food aid-related cargoes at One-Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) through green channels, and reducing bottlenecks for humanitarian payloads at borders.
Support youth and women, especially cross-border traders, to organise into cooperatives, enhance the quality of their businesses, and increase their access to information and services.
Promote trade reforms that enhance access for vulnerable groups, including implementation of Simplified Trade Regimes, creation of Joint Border Committees, and streamline regulations and border processes.