Result of Service

Objective of the Assignment:

The main objective of this assignment is to support the inclusive implementation of the AfCFTA and reduce barriers to trade for women entrepreneurs and traders at AU, REC, and national levels through knowledge generation, knowledge translation and transfer, and stakeholder engagement.

Reduced trade-related gender discrimination and gender-based barriers to trade policy implementation at AU, REC and national levels.

Work Location


Expected duration

The duration of the consultancy will be for twelve (12) months, upon signature of the contract.

Duties and Responsibilities


The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), through the Regional Integration & Trade Division, is a specialized unit within the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its mission is to act as the leading Africa-based Centre of excellence and a continental hub for providing and coordinating technical support for the development of trade policies in Africa. ATPC works with stakeholders at all levels to enhance the implementation of sound national, regional and international trade strategies, policies and programs. The Centre also conducts research to generate and disseminate knowledge on trade and provides policy advice, training and capacity building based on the needs identified by its partners.

The agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018 is a key milestone in Africa’s integration Agenda. The AfCFTA is expected to be a key engine of economic growth, industrialization and sustainable development in Africa in line with the 2030 Agenda adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 for “The Africa We Want”.

African women play a significant role in trade and will be essential to the continent’s success in exploiting its trade potential under the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA Agreement does not incorporate a separate chapter on gender and trade. The Preamble, however, contains explicit reference to the importance of gender equality for the development of international trade and economic cooperation, while Article 3 (e) emphasizes the promotion of gender equality as one of the general objectives of the AfCFTA. Likewise, Article 27 (d) of the Protocol on Trade in Services, makes explicit reference to improving the export capacity of both formal and informal service suppliers, with particular attention to micro, small and medium size; “women and youth service suppliers.” Despite explicit and numerous other implicit provisions in the Agreement that could foster new employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women, benefits to women will not be automatic. AfCFTA Member States will need to ensure a targeted approach in the design and implementation of AfCFTA national strategies/plans that translate opportunities into concrete socio-economic benefits, while preparing for potential risks.

ATPC recognises that trade must be inclusive for its benefits to be both maximised and widely distributed. Recognising that gender- and age-based discrimination leads to overall economic losses and limits gains from trade, the ability of the institutional environment to support the participation of women and youth in trade is considered critical to the Centre’s work. For the AfCFTA to deliver the expected outcomes, priority actions are to be undertaken in the short to medium run. Women’s economic empowerment and the realization of gender equality should be essential in the design and implementation of AfCFTA national strategies/plans. Additionally, ECA estimates indicate that maximising the benefits of AfCFTA implementation largely depends on improvements in trade facilitation and reduced non-tariff barriers to trade, which is critical for small-scale and informal cross-border traders, who are in large part women. ATPC is therefore expanding the programme of work to support inclusive AfCFTA implementation.

It is in this context that the ECA through its African Trade Policy Center (ATPC) proposes to recruit a trade policy expert with experience in gender to manage this expanded portfolio focused on inclusive AfCFTA implementation.

Duties and responsibilities:

The Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Coordinator of ATPC and the overall guidance of the Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division. In order to achieve the above mentioned objective, the Consultant will perform the following key tasks:

Overall activities:
– Design and manage gender and trade work programme with a focus on women and the AfCFTA, including the mainstreaming of gender in AfCFTA implementation and Phase 2 and 3 negotiations, through knowledge generation, knowledge translation and transfer, and stakeholder engagement, in line with the activities below.
– Ensure inclusion issues (relating to women, youth, and people with disabilities) are mainstreamed in AfCFTA implementation through innovative approaches to advocacy and capacity building, supported by knowledge generation.
– Include and inform the approach to addressing other cross cutting issues such as digitalization, climate change and urbanisation in AfCFTA implementation.
– Develop a strategic focus on trade facilitation and act as ATPC’s focal point on trade facilitation given its importance to maximising the benefits of AfCFTA implementation and for the inclusion of small-scale traders and women. This includes leading work on digital trade facilitation including on the uses of emerging technologies, as well as interactions with transport, corridor development, and lessons learned across RECs.
– Recruit and manage consultants with subject matter expertise to advance the portfolio’s work.
– Maintain links with ECA work on (informal) cross-border trade, e-commerce, modelling, and other ATPC work streams, RITD, and ECA divisions, and coordinate with relevant colleagues.
– Coordinate with partners, including researchers, subject matter experts, think tanks, and international/regional organisations.
– Implement the ATPC Gender Strategy and ensure gender considerations are mainstreamed in ATPC work streams.

Produce knowledge products on gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and inclusion:
• Lead work on knowledge generation activities relating to measuring women’s contribution to and participation in trade, gender and the AfCFTA, the gender dimension of Phase 2 and 3 issues (intellectual property rights, competition policy, investment, and e-commerce), regional value chains for goods and services, and opportunities for SMEs in AfCFTA implementation through linkages with larger firms, as well as other dimensions of gender, trade, and cross-cutting issues;
• Oversee and participate in the development of methodologies for measuring women in trade and on enhancing national capacity for data and statistics for more gender-responsive trade policies with the African Centre for Statistics;
• Advance efforts to implement sub-regional and continental innovations to support women trading under the AfCFTA, including ICBT sex-disaggregated data collection methodology to additional trade corridors, development of continental methodology for measuring informal cross-border trade, the design of a continental Simplified Trade Regimes, the inclusion of women and informal traders in cross-border payment systems;
• Ensure women and youth are taken into consideration in economic assessments of the impact of trade agreements and investigate the impacts of the AfCFTA on gender equality;
• Produce knowledge products to inform discussion forums and high-level policy dialogues.
Translate and transfer knowledge on gender equality and inclusion to key stakeholders:
• Produce policy briefs and opinion pieces based on knowledge products;
• Coordinate and supervise learning and capacity building efforts, including regional trainings and workshops on AfCFTA for women’s groups, the development and delivery of modules on AfCFTA thematic areas and interaction with gender, and the training of RITD staff on gender analysis and utilizing sex-disaggregated data for monitoring and evaluation;
• Design events around gender and trade at the Intra-African Trade Fair.
Engage key stakeholders on gender equality and inclusion.
• Lead private sector engagement relating to gender and trade, including engagements with women’s organisations and regional business associations;
• Organise and participate in multi-stakeholder events to facilitate public-private dialogue;
• Maintain inclusion-related technical partnerships with the AU, AfCFTA Secretariat, RECs, and Member States;
• Coordinate and supervise gender-related capacity building support and advocacy in developing national AfCFTA strategies;
• Ensure women business organisations, entrepreneurs, and traders are included in national trade consultations;
• Provide a gender lens to ECA and partner COVID recovery strategies;
• Engage in research partnerships to advance knowledge gaps in trade and gender literature;
• Ensure coherence with and leverage work of other relevant teams within ECA;
• Support capacity building for gender mainstreaming in RECs based on study findings;
• Assess requests for and provide technical assistance.

The consultant will deliver on the key tasks through collaborating closely with UN agencies, the African Union Commission (AUC), regional economic communities (RECs), and private sector associations. Significant travel is foreseen, subject to COVID-19 safety and travel regulations.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Master’s degree in Economics, International Trade, International Relations/Affairs, International Law and/or related areas is required.
Experience: Minimum of ten (10) years of professional experience working in the areas of trade and gender, development economics, research, and evidence-based policy design is required. Experience on the African continent and working with Member States, RECs, the AUC, international organizations, and private sector partners is required. Understanding of Africa’s regional integration agenda and experience with capacity building and project management is desirable.
Language: English and French are the working language of the UN Secretariat. For this specific job opening fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable.

No Fee