An Africa-wide free-trade pact could bolster the region’s income by $450bn (R3.08-trillion) and lift 30-million people out of extreme poverty by 2035, if accompanied by significant policy reform and trade-facilitation measures, according to a new World Bank report.

While the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) entered into force legally in 2019, commerce that was due to have started on July 1 was delayed as the coronavirus pandemic set back protocol negotiations. When fully operational by 2030, the region could be the world’s biggest free-trade zone by area, with a potential market of 1.2-billion people and a combined GDP product of $2.5-trillion.

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