Sub-Saharan Africa: Identification and Formulation Studies in the area of Digital Trade

Sub-Saharan Africa
ICT Solutions; Infrastructure & Transport

project description

The purpose of the assignment was to assist DG INTPA in designing a coherent framework of intervention in support of Digital Trade in Africa and propose the formulation of specific programmes in support of this.  

The assignment was done by taking into account the multiplicity of stakeholders, their capacities, initiatives and policies linked to African trade integration, ensuring the effective contribution to the implementation of the AfCFTA and other regional trade agreements, and the promotion of the European Union’s interests and values.  The intervention framework should serve as a justification and guidance to work in the area of digital trade where all the different components fit coherently and ensure a certain coverage.  

The assignment had three main results: 

  • To benchmark the baseline situation, at the continental level, regional level with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and at the national level in the selected area in view of the achievements of Economic integration and the implementation of the AfCTA: Identify the challenges, lessons learnt from previous or on-going interventions and mapping the relevant stakeholders, analysing in particular their interests and capacities. The expert team carried out a comparative analysis of the baseline situation, at the continental level, regional and national levels in the area of economic integration as regards Digital Trade. Furthermore, the team identified the main actors involved at the different levels describing their mandate and capacities as well described the planned EU and other partners’ interventions. A preliminary review of the current support provided by the EU was also further elaborated. The expert team identified and prioritised possible objectives in supporting Digital Trade to contribute to the achievement of an AfCFTA exploiting as much as possible expertise available and similar experiences in Europe or other regions. 
  • To build an overall intervention logic for these interventions that explains the rationale and the mechanisms for working at the three levels (continental, regional, and national levels) coherently. The logic included an approach to the thematic area (how to address the issue, typology of approach and support), and a proposed architecture including different components/sub-programmes.
  • Based on the overall intervention logic, design and formulate concrete actions identified as potential intervention components within the intervention logic, where support from the EU can bring an added value and that could be funded by the SSA MIP 2021-2027. Continental, regional and multi-country interventions were identified. National level analysis was limited to identifying the cross-border elements within a regional integration perspective. Further references to national level related services were understood in the same way.

services provided

  • Prepared a Desk Study on the key documents 
  • Consultations in Addis-Ababa with the relevant AUC departments and other
  • relevant stakeholders; Consultation with the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana;
  • Organised five other missions to meet with relevant stakeholders at regional level (consultation with the SSA Regional Economic Communities relevant departments and EU Delegations to the RECs; and EU Member States relevant contact points).
  • Consultation with the Private sector as well as relevant stakeholders (e.g. banks or telecommunication companies linked to digital trade);
  • Conducted two validation workshops with INTPA and relevant EU Delegations to discuss the main outcomes and recommendations from both the identification and the formulation reports;
  • Meetings in Brussels with staff responsible for the programming of the SSA MIP in INTPA and EEAS, as well as DG TRADE.