As of April 29, 2019, 22 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to the African Union (AU), meeting the threshold for the agreement to come into effect. The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019.
The significance of the AfCFTA cannot be overstated: It will be the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994. Landry Signé has estimated that under a successfully implemented AfCFTA, Africa will have a combined consumer and business spending of $6.7 trillion in 2030. He also finds that the AfCFTA will have a significant impact on manufacturing and industrial development, tourism, intra-African cooperation, and economic transformation. UNECA has predicted it will raise intra-African trade by 15 to 25 percent, or $50 billion to $70 billion, by 2040, compared to an Africa without the AfCFTA. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) similarly projects that, under the AfCFTA, Africa’s expanded and more efficient goods and labor markets will significantly increase the continent’s overall ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index. Increased market access, in turn, is expected to enhance the competitiveness of industries and enterprises, the exploitation of economies of scale, and the efficacy of resource allocation.
Africa just created a major trade bloc (2019). Africa Just Created a Major Free Trade
The African continental free trade area and its implications for India-Africa trade (2018) . The African countries are set to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area or AfCFTA, the biggest free trade agreement in the world since the World Trade Organization was created in the 1990s. When implemented, the AfCFTA is projected to increase intra-African trade by 52.3 percent by 2022, from 2010 levels. In turn, higher trade levels can facilitate economic growth, transform domestic economies, and help the countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper analyses the AfCFTA in the context of the continent’s long history of efforts at regional integration. It also examines the potential impact of the AfCFTA on India-Africa trade and bilateral investments, and argues that India must actively support the African efforts for AfCFTA.
The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa – A Human Rights Perspective (2018) The negotiations leading up to the continental free trade area (CFTA) present a unique opportunity to improve the livelihoods of millions of African people. The jobs and wealth that the CFTA can bring about have the potential to contribute significantly to alleviating poverty, creating jobs and promoting equality. The CFTA is more than a trade agreement. Its wide scope – covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights – provides a platform to facilitate the inclusive structural transformation of African countries, contributing to the attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the global Agenda 2030.
Will free trade be Africa’s game changer? The AfCFTA won’t start with a bang but could boost economic growth more than any other factor. By Peter Fabricius for ISS TODAY
In rejecting Nigeria’s signing of the AfCFTA agreement, the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress characterized it as an “extremely dangerous and radioactive neoliberal policy initiative.” Indeed, free trade advocacy is among neoliberalism’s key features. In the early 1800s, classical economist David Ricardo’s appealingly logical but unempirical theory of comparative advantage provided a basis for the idea that trade that is, at least in theory, unhampered by government regulation is universally beneficial. Economists later elevated Ricardo’s theory to a “law,” and in the 1990s those with a neoliberal bent lauded free trade’s facilitation of economic growth as market forces efficiently allocate labor, capital, and technological resources.