Africa is taking a giant step towards harnessing its economic might now that 52 of the continent’s 55 countries have signed a free trade agreement that forms the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The new continental trade agreement creates a single market for goods and services by removing existing trade barriers across Africa. This multinational market has a combined gross domestic product of $2m and a population of more than one billion people. The rollout of AfCFTA is expected to boost Africa’s regional and international trade, according to the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organisation in Washington, DC. A January 2019 essay by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa noted that lifting trade barriers across Africa should “increase the value of intra-African trade by between 15 percent (or $50 billion) and 25 percent (or $70 billion),” by 2040. Historically, it has been challenging for African countries to diversify export destinations. But AfCFTA will make more Africa-produced goods available among member countries.
SOURCES: AL JAZEERA