Big news out of Africa from over the weekend from News Wires – African leaders met this past weekend to begin a continental free-trade zone that if passed by all 55-nations, would unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic block, the largest free-trade zone since the WTO was established in 1994.
The agreement to create the AfCFTA has been in the works for the past four years and is Africa’s effort to catch up on regional trade versus Asia and Europe. In 2017, African exports were 17% of exports versus 59% in Asia and 69% in Europe. The creation of the AfCFTA is an effort to boost growth in Africa as it has in Europe and North America.
However, Africa is a large continent and each individual country has concerns whether a new trade area will really benefit their country. The article cites Nigerian officials concerned the free trade area will result in a flood of cheaper goods that hinder efforts to increase local manufacturing. On the other hand, South African manufacturers see the free trade area as a benefit as they would be able to expand into the West and North Africa countries.
Will post news regarding the passage of the AfCFTA as it becomes available.a