The 2019 implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has to be the year’s most significant accomplishment for Africa. After the continent’s exploitation through the Berlin Conference and its devastating consequences, African heads of states finally came together and reached a consensus, observed Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, former African Union permanent ambassador to the United States. With her dismissal from her AU post, the Zimbabwe-born, HBCU-trained medical doctor turned diplomat has become a spokesperson for Pan African unity and the African Diaspora.
The African free trade area will be the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994. The International Monetary Fund projects that, under Af-CFTA, Africa’s expanded and more efficient goods and labor markets will increase her overall ranking on the Global Competitiveness index.
The entry of AfCFTA in May 2019 offered a unique opportunity to build world class infrastructure, accelerate industrial development and boost intra-African and global trade. Economic integration is progressing on the continent and AfCFTA is an important development milestone.