Understanding what the real effects of an African free trade zone might be is a bit like waiting for Godot. World trade is at least as complex as quantum mechanics and the road is very rocky. This might be why the Department of Trade and Industry has not yet sent out a detailed press release on the benefits this would bring to the continent of Africa. No doubt this is also, in part, because it does not know. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said that his government needed more time to consult relevant stakeholders about the continental free trade area treaty before signing it. Ramaphosa has so far only signed a declaration on the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and not a treaty on free trade. The AfCFTA concept aims to promote agricultural development and food security through the free movement of persons, capital, goods and services. The idea of a free trade area has been in the making for some time — at least since the New Part...

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