Job Opening

Posting Title: Consultant to conduct research on inclusion of women and youth in trade into research project on green transition considerations into the negotiation/implementation of the protocols of the AfCFTA
Department/Office: Economic Commission for Africa
Duty Station: ADDIS ABABA
Posting Period: 05 June 2023 - 18 June 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-Economic Commission for Africa-210328-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Result of Service

Understanding what policy measures and tools can be included in the AfCFTA Protocol on trade in services to promote a green transition and generating economic growth.

Work Location

Home Based

Expected duration

2 Months

Duties and Responsibilities


The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the Regional Integration & Trade Division (RITD) 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.

Africa is expected to be more severely affected by climate change than any other continent, given its size, geographical position, and limited capacity to adapt. There is significant evidence that climate change can have detrimental impacts on trade in Africa as it “reduces agricultural production and yields, damages physical infrastructure, disrupt supply, transport and distribution chains and also harms the biodiversity and natural attractions of which tourism in Africa depends” . Thus, it is imperative to develop mechanisms to help mitigate these impacts on trade.

The world’s environmental emergencies are as pressing as ever, even if they may seem distant during the pandemic. Covid-19 has shed light on the fragility of Africa’s supply chains, highlighting the urgency to develop more robust and resilient regional value chains to face future climate change shocks. Trade can help to mitigate climate change and adapt to its adverse effects.

Universal tariff reduction has historically led to an increase of trade in carbon-intensive and environmentally destructive products as it enables greater trade flows by sea, air and land and boosts broader economic activity. It also incentivizes firms to shift to cheaper production locations which is often linked with more polluting geographies . However, if designed and implemented appropriately, trade agreements environmental impact can also be an opportunity to secure the promotion of climate friendly industries and formalize efforts that can eliminate destructive trade-related malpractices. Some analysis also proposed the “Environmental Kuznets Curve” (EKC) hypothesis which suggests a relationship between economic activity and environmental degradation such that there is initially a negative effect, and then a positive effect.

Politically, UN Member States have identified Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) as playing a potentially significant role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 13 (SDG 13) on Climate Action. Nevertheless, the competing evidence suggests this cannot be left to simply “happen”. Integrating climate change goals in trade policies should be prioritized. Currently, international climate change and trade policy discussions largely do not take place in the same fora. Climate policy makers meet at the UN Climate Change Conference and trade policy makers at the WTO which results in silo dynamics. In order to address this disconnect between climate and trade policy, countries and regional economic communities can first start by acting on the synergies and creating concrete plans for how climate and trade can support each other.

Against this backdrop, incorporating green provisions in the AfCFTA might also be crucial for generating green industrial development which will be key for Africa’s future competitive advantage in global markets that increasingly demand more climate friendly standards of industries. The AfCFTA entered into force in May 2019 and the official start of trading under the Agreement was 1st January 2021 . Once realized, the Agreement is expected to connect 1.3 billion people across 55 African Union member States with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$2.5 trillion. It is expected that the AfCFTA will progressively eliminate 90 percent of tariffs as well as the red tape that limits trade efficiency. As a result, ECA’s latest modeling suggests that, in 2045, intra-African trade has the potential to be around 40 percent higher following AfCFTA implementation than under a situation without AfCFTA in place . The AfCFTA negotiations have been scheduled in phases. Whereas trading under the AfCFTA was officially launched on 1 January 2021, outstanding issues with regard to Phase I negotiations in trade in goods and services are being finalized. Phases II Protocols on IPR, Investment and Competition Policy were adopted on 19 February 2023 at the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Digital Trade, and Women and Youth in Trade are ongoing.

Environmental provisions in preferential trade agreements are growing both in terms of their number and variety. Some of the more recent RTAs are more supportive of climate goals compared to the more traditional agreements however research argue that most agreements largely fail to support the opportunities of greening trade policies. ICC suggest seven opportunities for supporting climate goals through contemporary trade agreements, i.e. 1) removal of tariff barriers on environmental goods and services, 2) removal of non-tariff barriers on environmental goods and services, 3) explicit limits on fossil fuel subsidies, 4) carbon border adjustments mechanisms, 5) green procurement, 6) approval on non-discriminatory renewable energy subsidies and 7) international cooperation on climate change goals.

The Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade is part of phase II of the AfCFTA negotiations and is at the time of writing in the initial phases of the negotiation. The 13th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly Heads of State and Government of the African Union on 5 December 2020 committed to broaden inclusiveness in the operation of the AfCFTA through interventions that support young Africans, women and SMEs as well as integrating informal cross border traders into the formal economy by implementing the simplified trade regime. This materialized into the decision to include the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade within the scope of the AfCFTA Agreement at the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly held from 5 to 6 February 2022.

Objectives of the Assignment:

1. Analyzing and understanding the opportunities and challenges of supporting women and youth in trade in the green economy sectors under the AfCFTA protocols aligning with the existing gender mainstreaming methodology.
2. Identifying and bringing out gender and youth implications for inclusivity in intra-African trade in each of the six reports, including their findings, on the linkages between the AfCFTA Protocols on Trade in Goods, Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Policy and Digital Trade and the green transition to assess the potential ;
3. Reviewing best practices of supporting women and youth in trade in the implementation of each of the protocols through an environmental lens. promoting the green economy through the implementation of free trade agreements in Africa and other regions
4. Preparing a policy brief with evidence-based policy recommendations on how best to incorporate green considerations into the implementation phase of AfCFTA the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade

Duties and responsibilities:

Working under overall guidance from ATPC Coordinator and the direct supervision of the project manager, the consultant is expected to perform the following specific tasks:

- Conduct a desk review of literature on implications for women and youth in trade in free trade agreements supporting the green transition aligning with the existing gender mainstreaming methodology;
- Carry out targeted stakeholder interviews both with women and youth-led SMEs in the green economy, and gender, trade and environmental experts
- Prepare and incorporate inputs that address implications for women and youth for inclusivity in intra-African trade in each of the six reports, including their findings;
- Conduct internal review process led by ECA’s RITD and selected stakeholders;
- Finalize the research papers taking into account the feedback and suggestions provided.
- Consolidate the six reports into one joint research paper on Green Transition Considerations under the AfCFTA;
- Based on the inputs to the research papers, conduct a policy brief with recommendations on how to promote gender mainstreaming in AfCFTA implementation measures that support the green transition, as well as on how to promote opportunities for women and youth in trade in the green transition under the AfCFTA.

Qualifications/special skills

Master’s degree in Economics, International Trade, International Relations, International Law and/or related areas is required.
Have a minimum of five (7) years of professional experience. Proven record in research in the African context, preferably analyzing the impact of trade agreements from gender and youth inclusion lens is required. Understanding of Africa's regional integration agenda, especially the AfCFTA, is desirable. Knowledge of environmental implications in trade and development is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English or French is required.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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