Trade in services negotiations and implementation

Statement of need

International trade and investment in services are an increasingly important part of the regional integration agenda. While most African countries participated in the WTO negotiations resulting in WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), they have further proceeded to create a trade in services and investment agreements under the auspices of their regional economic communities. However, similar to the challenges these countries face to implement their minimum standard commitments under WTO’s GATS and associated agreements, implementation incapacities of these countries are further pronounced at the regional level where they have assumed WTO-plus commitments. The ability to rationalize national interests in a negotiation context and further rationalize the implementation of the resulting outcomes for implementation purposes remains a singular source of concern confronting African countries in their Regional Economic Communities (RECs) regimes. In this regard, as African Countries prepare to exchange offers that will transition to schedules of specific commitments under the African Continental Free Trade Area according to the AfCFTA Agreement, would like to enhance the skills of their negotiators as they prepare for the forthcoming trade in services and investment negotiations. This is critical considering that ICT-related technological advancements have expanded the scope of services that can be traded across borders and the nature of FDI thus challenging the validity of the scope of coverage of trade in services issues that are currently covered in both in RECs regimes and the WTO. Furthermore, new initiatives by advanced economies aimed at reshaping trade in services standards, creating new rules and expanding the scope of sectors covered by traditional multilateral and REC regimes have emerged.

Objectives of the course

  • Develop a thorough understanding of key concepts in trade in services in particular those arising from AfCFTA Agreement on Trade in Services and their potential impact on countries
  • Gain profound knowledge regarding the options, which may be negotiated in AfCFTA trade in services negotiations including with third parties, as well as the “modus operandi” of services negotiations with advanced economies.
  • Assess the substantial issues regarding the AfCFTA investment protocol
  • Analyse potential consequences of various options in services liberalisation in the Sierra Leone context given its current WTO commitments.
  • Gain an understanding of recent developments in trade services agreements and their practical implications.
  • Develop practical skills on how to identify negotiation interests.
  • Rationalize, analyse and review sector-specific cases and their relevance to the proposed schedule of commitments.
  • Understand the nature of economic diplomacy in the context of AfCFTA negotiations as well as the implications of commitments at the WTO and ECOWAS


  • Understanding of services and the importance of Services for trade & development
  • Overview of the conceptual basis of trade in services negotiations-

 Scheduling of Specific Commitments

  • Understanding the rights of parties AfCFTA trade in services negotiations:
    • The AfCFTA Trade in Service Protocol
    • Regulatory Framework Guiding Principles
    • Sectoral analysis of the five proposed sectors and assessment of Namibia’s preparedness

Analyse competitiveness in services, & Selected Statistics on services sectors and interpretation of schedules

1 Week

a) Venue 1: Arusha, Tanzania
Date: 15 – 26 April 2024

b) Venue 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Date: 2 – 13 September 2024

Course Fees



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    Puplic/ParastatalPrivateRegional/Civic organisationsAcademic Institution

    Addis AbabaArusha