SRO-SA Consultant – Consultancy assignment for the delivery of the Report on Leveraging the AfCFTA for poverty and inequality reduction in Southern Africa, Lusaka, Zambia At Economic Commission for Africa


Closing date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Result of ServiceThe main objective of the consultancy assignment is to to produce a robust, analytical, and well-informed report on poverty and inequality reduction in Southern Africa through the implementation of the AfCFTA. The intent is to ensure that benefits of implementing the Agreement in Southern Africa are maximized to contribute to poverty and inequality reduction in the subregion. 1 Expected outcomes The study and publication process is expected to lead to: 1) Availability of a suitable methodology and analytical framework for assessing the AfCFTA impact on poverty, inequality and vulnerability in Southern Africa; 2) Enhanced understanding and appreciation of the extent to which the AfCFTA could promote poverty and inequality reduction in Southern Africa as a whole, including variations within and between countries; 3) Enhanced appreciation of challenges to, and opportunities for poverty, inequality and vulnerability reduction through the AfCFTA implementation in Southern Africa; 4) Increased knowledge and understanding of transmission mechanisms through which AfCFTA could be leveraged to enhance the implementation of national, subregional, regional and global poverty, inequality and vulnerability frameworks and strategies, and the role of relevant stakeholders; 5) A clear understanding of policy options and measures required to maximum the positive impact of the AfCFTA on poverty and inequality reduction in Southern Africa.

Work LocationRemote

Expected duration6 Months

Duties andResponsibilities

PROJECT BACKGROUND: Reducing poverty and inequality are central to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU Agenda 2063, as well as other regional, and international frameworks. The international community, including countries in Southern Africa have made commitments towards meeting SDG 1 and number 10 which are dedicated to reducing poverty and inequalities respectively. This is in addition to Goal 1 of Agenda 2063 on “A high standard of living, quality of life and well-beingâ€. There are significant variations among member states in terms of progress made towards meeting these regional and international benchmarks, and this is largely due to differences in economic, social, and political conditions obtaining in each state or regions to which states belong. Southern Africa is still one of the poorest and among the most unequal subregions in Africa, and this entails that sub-optimal progress has been made towards meeting benchmarks on poverty and inequality in the subregion. This phenomena is paradoxical given the conducive climatic conditions and abundance of natural resources that Southern Africa is endowed with, including oil, copper, gold, diamond, platinum, gas, land, and fisheries among others. The subregion has been pursuing several initiative aimed at tackling the social and economic challenges and meet regional and global commitments on poverty and inequality reduction. These include accelerated industrialization, digitalization and technological advancement, manufacturing value added, intraregional trade, infrastructure development, as well as deepened regional integration. It is envisioned that these initiatives will propel economic growth that will in turn foster poverty and inequality reduction. In this regard, the subregion has developed or committed to participate in policy frameworks that complement and reinforce these initiatives, of which the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) is critical. Launched officially in January 2021, the AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of member states, connecting 1.3 billion people with a combined growth domestic product (GDP) valued at 3.4 trillion across 55 countries. The Agreement aims, inter alia, to “create a single market†and to “lay the foundations for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union. The AfCFTA is expected to complement existing Free Trade Areas (FTAs) of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as those of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which aim to boost regional economic integration through intraregional trade within and across subregions. Continental integration is not an end in and of itself but an important vehicle towards economic and social development. Regionalism has been relatively successful in Africa in terms of fostering peace and security over the past few decades. However, in terms of economic development and poverty reduction, its potential has not been fully leveraged as evidenced by the prevalence of weak production and export structures in African countries, the increase in the number of poor people on the continent, and the low shares of regional trade in Africa’s total trade. Research shows that if implemented properly, the AfCFTA will enable African countries to address the development challenges they face, including contributing significantly to inclusive economic growth, job creation, equality, and poverty reduction. The present study on leveraging the AfCFTA for poverty and inequality reduction will provide an indepth analysis of the issues as they pertain povery and inequalities with a focus on the Southern Africa region. The study will, therefore, be important in highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the AfCFTA and guide member states in the subregion to maximize potential benefits of the Agreement for poverty and inequality reduction. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Under the general supervision of the Chief of the Subregional Initiatives Section of the Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, and the direct supervision of the Economic Affairs Officer of the Section; the successful candidate shall: 1) Prepare an inception report detailing among other things, the work to be undertaken, the conceptual framework, the methodology, work plan and annotated outline of the report; 2) Review past and current literature, key analytical frameworks, methodologies and other documents relevant to the study; 3) Establish an effective methodology and present an appropriate analytical framework to determine the impacts of the AfCFTA on poverty, inequality and vulnerability reduction in Southern Africa; 4) Prepare and administer data collection tools, including a survey questionnaire, undertake a desk review, as well as compilation of data from databases to collect data and information relevant to the assignment, and carry out interviews and other necessary consultations as required; 5) Analyze data and information gathered from different sources to inform the drafting of the report using appropriate methodologies and tools; 6) Determine the extent to which the AfCFTA implementation strategies of Southern African countries address poverty, inequality, and vulnerability; 7) Assess mechanisms through which the AfCFTA could be leveraged to address key implementation issues and gaps relating to national, subregional, regional and global frameworks on poverty, inequality and vulnerability reduction in Southern Africa; 8) Analyze success factors and enabling measures for leveraging the AfCFTA for poverty, inequality, and vulnerability reduction in Southern Africa; 9) Identify challenges to, and opportunities for the reduction of poverty, inequality and vulnerability through the AfCFTA implementation in Southern Africa; 10) Carry out a stakeholder analysis and determine capacity requirements for maximizing the benefits of the AfCFTA for the reduction of poverty, inequality and vulnerability in Southern Africa; 11) Based on the study findings, present robust conclusions and advance well-informed policy options and measures to bolster the benefits of AfCFTA implementation on poverty, inequality, and vulnerability reduction in Southern African. 12) Prepare and submit for review by ECA-SRO-SA, a robust, analytical and well-informed draft report on leveraging AfCFTA implementation for the reduction of poverty and inequality in Southern Africa; 13) Provide substantive support in the organization of the Adhoc Expert Group Meeting (AEGM) for the validation of the draft report.

Qualifications/special skillsAdvanced university degree (at least a Masters Degree or equivalent) in economics, international development, trade, regional integration, or related discipline is required. A first Degree with 3 additional years of experience would be accepted in lieu of the Advanced University Degree. : A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience at the national and/or international level in international development, trade and regional integration-related work. Experience in research/analytical work on poverty, inequality, and vulnerability in the context of Africa, either in the academia or in private, public or civil society organizations is an advantage.

LanguagesEnglish and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this assignment, fluency in English IS REQUIRED. Knowledge of French and Portuguese is an advantage.

Additional InformationSuccessful International will be recruited for a period of 3 work-months spread over a period of 6 (six) months and will be paid a total of US$ 20,000.00 Payment will be made in four tranches as follows: 15% of total Consultancy Service Fees upon submission and approval of the annotated outline of the report. Delivery will be within 1 week from date of Consultancy Service Contract. 25% of total Consultancy Service Fees upon submission and approval of first draft report. Delivery will be within 6 weeks from date of Consultancy Service Contract. 35% of total Consultancy Service Fees upon upon presentation of the report at the validation meeting and revision and submission of the report based on comments from validation meeting, ECA and partners. Delivery will be within 16 weeks from date of Consultancy Service Contract. 25% of total Consultancy Service Fees upon submission and approval of final report. Delivery will be within 6 Months from date of Consultancy Service Contract.

No FeeTHE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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