Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

ODI in conversation with H.E. Wamkele Mene

Time (GMT +01) 09:00 10:00
This event has finished, watch or listen to the playback below.


Running order:

00:00 Opening remarks from Dominic McVey (entrepreneur and ODI Trustee)

01:00 Introduction from Sara Pantuliano (Chief Executive, ODI)

04:16 H.E. Wamkele Mene’s vision for the AfCFTA and progress check – why intra-Africa trade is low; lessons to take from the European Union; the leadership of Heads of States.

09:58 Lessons from other agreements – the need for a dispute settlement mechanism; digital payments platform can ensure benefits are shared; boosting long-term industrial development capacity in weaker economies.

17:34 How the AfCFTA will deliver for women, young people and SMEs – SMEs led by women drive trade in border communities; the importance of the informal sector; the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade.

21:40 How the AfCFTA can position Africa to respond to today’s global challenges – the Covid-19 crisis has created an opportunity for vaccine production; food insecurity and the Russia-Ukraine war; how the AfCFTA can counter this.

26:54 What support the AfCFTA needs from other countries – investment in trade-supporting infrastructure, SMEs and development finance institutions.

30:00 The AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative – building confidence in the system.

33:03 Q&A session (round 1 of questions)

35:57 Q&A: How do you see the interaction between AfCFTA implementation and negotiation going? – the role of National Implementation Committees, balancing negotiation and implementation.

37:31 Q&A: Where is financing for infrastructure likely to come from? – trade-supporting infrastructure development support from African Development Bank, Afreximbank, the EU and US government.

40:15 Q&A: What are your plans to kick off regional integration and are there any priority sectors? – automotive sector, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, transport and logistics, the role of the private sector.

42:53 Q&A: What are the prospects for a continent-to-continent AfCFTA agreement? – too early, need to first move from free trade area to customs union.

44:30 Q&A session (round 2 of questions)

47:54 Q&A: How are the protocols on women and youth & investment progressing?

48:24 Q&A: What is the role of regional economic communities?

49:57 Q&A: How can we speed up the adoption of digital technology to support value chains?

51:12 Q&A: What role can the diaspora play in driving investment in Africa?

52:00 Q&A: What has the British reaction to the AfCFTA been since leaving the EU?

54:45 Closing remarks from Sara Pantuliano (Chief Executive, ODI)

About the conversation

H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, joins ODI in conversation to discuss his vision for trade and investment for Africa and the rest of world.

Against a backdrop of economic volatility and an increasing fragmentation of global cooperation, this event explores how partnerships in Africa and with the rest of the world can generate win-win outcomes for people and planet.

Read H.E. Wamkele Mene's biography.


  • Sara Pantuliano

    Sara Pantuliano

    Chief Executive, ODI

  • H.E. Wamkele Mene

    H.E. Wamkele Mene

    Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat