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Leading the Way: How Africa is Establishing a 21st Century Trade Agenda

July 27, 2020



  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement stands to connect 1.3 billion people across 55 countries, making it the largest free trade area in the world by membership. The pact has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, increase workers’ wages and generate gains for women. But achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.

    The creation of the AfCFTA regional market is a major opportunity to help African countries diversity their exports and accelerate growth. This is especially important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted trade and triggered up to $79 billion in output losses during 2020 in Africa alone.

    This event will introduce the new World Bank Group report The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects. The report is designed to help countries implement policies that can maximize the agreement’s potential gains while minimizing risks. Through a discussion moderated by Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, a series of speakers and leading experts will discuss the economics behind the trade agreement and how policymakers can use the AfCFTA to increase competition and prepare their workforces to take advantage of new opportunities.

  • Coming soon.

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    Albert Zeufack

    World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region

    Albert Zeufack, a Cameroonian national, is the World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region. He joined the World Bank in 1997 as a research economist in the macroeconomics division of the Research Department. Since then, he has held several positions in the East Asia and Pacific region, as well as in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice with a particular focus on Africa, Europe and Central Asia. Mr. Zeufack’s main research interest is the micro-foundations of macroeconomics. Prior to his appointment as Chief Economist, he was Practice Manager in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice and leader of the World Bank-wide Community of Practice for the Management of Natural Resources Rents, a group interested in sovereign wealth, fiscal rules, public spending patterns, and macro-modeling in natural resource-rich economies. Before joining the World Bank, Mr. Zeufack taught economics and applied econometrics at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, where he received his Ph.D. in economics. He holds a master’s degree in economic analysis and policy from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.


    Caroline Freund

    Global Director, Trade, Investment and Competitiveness

    Caroline Freund is Global Director of Trade, Investment and Competitiveness. Previously she was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. She has also worked as Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, after working for nearly a decade in the international trade unit of the research department. Freund began her career in the international finance division of the Federal Reserve Board and spent a year visiting the research department of the IMF. She has published extensively in academic journals and is the author of Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms. She is a US national and received a PhD in economics from Columbia University.


    Maryla Maliszewska

    Senior Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank Group

    Maryla Maliszewska is a Senior Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment Global Practice of the World Bank Group. Her area of expertise covers various aspects of trade policy and regional integration with a special focus on the impacts of trade on poverty and income distribution. She specializes in global analyzes of structural and demographic change, as well as trade policy using computable general equilibrium models. She contributed analyses underlying several World Bank reports and publications: “China 2030”, Global Monitoring Report, Global Development Horizons and Global Economic Prospects. She joined the World Bank in 2010. Prior to this she was a Research Fellow at the Center for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw, Poland, where she led several FTA feasibility studies for the DG Trade and conducted research on EU trade policy, non-tariff barriers and modeling of trade flows and an advisor to the National Bank of Romania forecasting trade flows. She holds a PhD from the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK and M.A. in Economics from Sussex, UK and Warsaw University, Poland.


    Prudence Sebahizi

    Chief Technical Advisor on the African Continental Free Trade Area

    Prudence Sebahizi is the Chief Technical Advisor on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Head of the AfCFTA Negotiations Support Unit, based in the Department of Trade and Industry, African Union Commission, since August 2016. He provides technical and Strategic advice to the AfCFTA Negotiating Institutions as well as to the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, on the AfCFTA Negotiations. He’s the overall coordinator of AfCFTA negotiations and coordinates a team of senior experts and advisors on various issues under negotiations. Prior to his appointment to this position, he led a team of experts who provided technical assistance and strategic guidance to strengthen the capacity of the African Union Commission (AUC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to more effectively drive the AfCFTA preparatory process since 2015. He was the Lead Technical Advisor (LTA) to the Department of Trade and Industry of African Union Commission on the AfCFTA. Between 2012 and 2014 he worked with Civil Society Organizations and prior to 2012, Prudence worked with the Government of Rwanda for more than 10 years in the areas of International Trade and Regional Integration and as Rwanda’s Chief Negotiator to the negotiations of the EAC Common Market Protocol since 2006. He was at the center of Rwanda’s accession to the East African Community (EAC) and he advised the government of Rwanda on Regional Integration while working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Office of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation respectively. Prudence SEBAHIZI holds a Master’s Degree in International Development Policy from Seoul National University, South Korea.


    Trudi Hartzenberg

    Executive Director of the Trade Law Centre

    Trudi Hartzenberg is the Executive Director of the Trade Law Centre (tralac). Her research is in the areas of international trade, competition policy, industrial development and Africa’s integration agenda. She has a special interest in, and commitment to capacity building. She has designed and delivered academic and tailored short courses on a broad range of trade-related topics for policy makers in Africa. She currently serves on the WTO Chairs Advisory Committee and is a member of the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).


    Hon. Betty C. Maina

    CBS Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development

    The Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Betty C. Maina, CBS brings a wealth of experience and professional capability built over two decades of engagement with top-notch public and private sector organizations. She has more than 27 years’ experience in organizational leadership and development, with an ability to prepare and implement strategic business plans and mobilize resources for implementation, traits that place her at a strategic position to effectively lead the coordination of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in Kenya. Hon. Maina has served as the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, State Department for industrialization, and State Department of East African Affairs. She has also served as the Chief Executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers for 11 years (between June 2004–July 2015), where she not only oversaw the doubling of membership of the association, but also established seven satellite offices to compliment the services offered at the national office Ms. Maina was behind the successful implementation of the association’s strategic plan, resource mobilization and fundraising and oversaw its revenue increase from Kshs 24 million to Kshs 400 million annually within her ten year stewardship.


  • WHERE: Online - World Bank Live
  • WHEN: July 27, 2020
  • TIME: 9 am – 10 am ET, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT
World Bank Live