Africa’s progress in economic integration and its championship of multilateralism will further unlock the continent’s potential for economic development and facilitate its march towards prosperity.
The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in July, first and foremost, shows that African nations prefer collaboration to protectionism. The historic agreement paves way for the formation of what could be one of the world’s largest free trade zones in terms of the number of participating countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars. By launching the AfCFTA, the continent is making the right choice in its endeavor to boost intra-African trade, facilitate industrialization, and bring about prosperity in the region.
The AfCFTA thus seeks to expand intra-African trade through the progressive elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and through the gradual liberalization of service trade. By doing so, African nations will create new opportunities for traders while consumers can enjoy more product choices.
The free trade pact is a chance for African nations to diversify their economic structure and exports, and to grow more competitive in the global trading system. With the AfCFTA, global investors are also expected to see more business opportunities, such as setting up local factories and signing new infrastructure project contracts much needed to facilitate free trade in the region.