WANDILE SIHLOBO: African countries’ agricultural reforms will ensure free trade deal benefits SA too
There is scope to grow agricultural imports from the rest of the continent enormously
Over the past two decades SA’s agricultural output growth and rise in trade surpluses have been inspiring, successes that give me much optimism. In 2020 alone — amid a pandemic — SA exported $10.2bn worth of agricultural products, the second-largest on record. One market that has consistently been important to SA is the rest of Africa, which on average accounts for 40% of our agricultural exports.
These deepening continental trade relations give me confidence that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should be favourable to SA’s agriculture. The export domination SA has had over the past couple of decades has mostly been concentrated within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, a free-trade area comprising 16 countries. SA will now progressively have access to the broader continental markets at relatively lower tariffs...