Sunday, September 24, 2023
BusinessChamber rolls out Amharic AfCFTA 101 to boost free trade awareness

Chamber rolls out Amharic AfCFTA 101 to boost free trade awareness

The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations is hoping a new Amharic course on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will supercharge awareness of the potentially game-changing trade deal among local businesses.

In an effort to boost awareness of the AfCFTA among businesses, the Chamber is launching an online education platform in the local language.

The new online platform aims to increase awareness through campaign, potentially reaching far more Ethiopian businesses with vital information about tapping into expanded continental markets under the world’s largest free trade area.

The Chamber sees addressing knowledge gaps among local traders as key to Ethiopia fully implementing the trade deal once operational.

“We have been giving in-person training on different topics as part of our capacity building pillar, but our reach has been limited,” said Bisrat Belete, head of the Chamber Academy.

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Ethiopia’s participation in the free trade area is becoming a reality as officials at the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration have finalized and are submitting Ethiopia’s goods and services offers.

The Chamber has been providing AfCFTA training to staff at regional chambers and associations so awareness can spread among businesses nationwide, Belete added.

If successful, the online education drive could be a major boost for Ethiopian entrepreneurs still grappling with how to seize opportunities offered by tariff-free trade across 55 African nations.

“Mainly due to the costs we had to endure, we were not able to proceed with it as expected,” Bisrat told The Reporter.

The national chamber aims to address its reach gap through knowledge support from the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and financial support from Initiative Africa. “Most studies show we’re lagging in awareness creation, so this project will have a big impact,” he said.

The trainings will use a hybrid format as the chamber plans to travel to areas without online access. AfCFTA training standards are set, “with e-learning instrumental for awareness and in-person training very intensive.”

According to Makeda Mulushewa, PACCI’s project manager, companies in Ethiopia, especially outside Addis Ababa, lack AfCFTA knowledge. “Based on information gathered, we developed a two-module online course in Amharic,” she said.

The courses aim “to provide trade participants with a comprehensive AfCFTA understanding and equip them with knowledge and skills to become export-ready in the AfCFTA area,” Makeda explained.

Chamber plans to launch the e-learning platform in two weeks while boosting its digital presence with an improved website. “We developed the Ethiopian chamber digital system to boost the chamber’s internal capacity and have an interactive online presence,” Bisrat said.

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