The first commerce under an Africa-wide free-trade pact will provide new stimulus to countries on the continent to overcome the economic damage of the coronavirus, even if it could be delayed for about six months, says the most senior official of this agreement.

The secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area is exploring the feasibility of moving talks involving more than 50 countries and real-time translation into four languages online. However, full border closures by about 30 nations aimed at limiting the spread of the virus is likely to restrict trade flows over the coming months, Wamkele Mene, the secretary-general, said in an interview...

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