The final communiqué insisted on the importance of regional cooperation to tap on the potential benefits of the AfCFTA, for job creation, social cohesion and industrialization. Further economic integration, through the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, could help create a more sustainable and inclusive growth, address the current challenges affecting the East African economies and concretely create up to 2 million new jobs. Examples drawn from national experiences, notably Rwanda’s development vision, illustrated the debate.
Regional integration was also highlighted in the sectors of tourism, a sector that currently employs over 7.2 million people and could benefit from a regional focus on intra-African tourism and urban tourism. Discussions were also held about the energy sector, where participants asserted the need to diversify financing sources to meet the goal of ensuring clean and affordable energy for all by 2030, highlighting the initiative to be launched by the ECA through the issuance of a special bond.
Participants debated on the issue of social cohesion, threatened by rising inequalities and learned from the example of Kenya where legal and institutional frameworks have supported a national effort to promote social cohesion.
With examples from Seychelles, Comoros or Madagascar, the meeting worked on blue economy and its potential for regional integration, underlining the need to put in place mechanisms to ensure that local communities also benefit from its dividend, and underscoring the important role of regional cooperation in fostering sustainable sharing and management of resources.
The meeting concluded with a learning visit outside of Asmara, which included a visit of the Gergera and Logo dams, a solar farm and Halhale Dairy Farm.
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