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The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched two years ago at an AU summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020, but this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of the coronavirus and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.

Studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN Economic Commission for Africa and others, state that the AfCFTA has the potential to increase growth, raise welfare and stimulate industrial development on the continent. But there are concerns. Some countries, particularly smaller and more vulnerable states, could be hurt. For example, they could suffer revenue losses and other negative effects from premature liberalisation...

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